Palace denies hand in sedition raps vs Robredo

Published July 19, 2019, 12:44 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Malacañang had nothing to do with the sedition charges filed against Vice President Robredo, saying it was the call of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar during the Pre-SONA Forum TATAK NG PAGBABAGO: Tatak ng Katatagan at PICC, Pasay City, July 18, 2018. (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar 

Andanar made the statement after the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) accused Robredo and other opposition figures of sedition and other charges for their alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that linked President Duterte’s family in the illegal drug trade.

Charges of sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice were filed against Robredo, and opposition senators Leila De Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and their former colleague Antonio Trillanes IV.

The complaint of the PNP-CIDG was based on a sworn statement executed by Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who admitted to be the one behind the viral videos.

In an interview with GMA-7, Andanar denied that Malacañang was behind the cases filed against Robredo and at least 30 others.

“Definitely, wala pong kinalaman ang Palasyo diyan, ang executive branch, this is the own—the decision of the Philippine National Police at wala po kaming kinalaman diyan (The Palace, the Executive Branch, has nothing to do with this and this is the decision of the PNP alone),” he said early Friday.

According to Andanar, President Duterte had better things to do than go after the Vice President.

“We have so much work to do; marami pong ginagawa ang Presidente (The President has a lot on his plate), he is fighting corruption left and right,” he said.

The Palace official, meanwhile, believed that Robredo’s team and the opposition can handle the obstacle they are facing.

“Palagay ko naman, merong sapat na mga abogado ang oposisyon and they can defend themselves. Kung talagang walang (I believe the opposition has competent lawyers and they can defend themselves. If there really is no) sedition, then they will go scot-free,” Andanar said.

Also facing charges were Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, former Senator Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romeo Macalintal, and House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada.

The same charges were also filed against members of the clergy who are vocal critics of the Duterte administration, namely, Archbishops Socrates Villegas and Pablo Virgilio David, Bishops Honesto Ongtioco and Teodoro Bacani Jr., and priests Albert Alejo and Robert Reyes.

Malacañang has denied the claims made by Advincula in his videos. Advincula earlier said that the opposition has nothing to do with the videos but later on backtracked.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said that Advincula should substantiate his charges, scoffing at the claims of the opposition that Bikoy was Malacañang’s creation.

“We have will wait for Bikoy, Advincula, to substantiate his charges. Then after that, let’s see. If there are charges to be filed in court, then the truth will come out. Because as I said repeatedly, the truth will always come out,” he said in May this year.

“It’s between them and Bikoy. We will just watch and look for whatever development,” he added.