By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV slammed the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for “clearly abusing and misusing the subpoena power” that it was given as it pushed through with the filing of cases against members of the opposition over the claims made by self-confessed whistleblower Peter Joemel Advincula.
In a statement issued late Thursday night, Trillanes said the PNP-CIDG continued to pursue the filing of the charges despite questions on Advincula’s credibility and allegations.
“Alam nila na wala silang hawak na ebidensya kundi ang salaysay ng isang testigo na ilang ulit nang nagsinungaling sa publiko, pero tinuloy pa rin ang pag-file ng kaso (They had no evidence other than the narratives of a witness who repeatedly lied before the public, yet they continued filing cases),” Trillanes pointed out.
He compared this with the police’s supposed inaction on the thousands of cases of so-called extrajudicial killings and deaths under investigation that remain unsolved.
“Pero pag oposisyon, dali-dali sila (But when it comes to the opposition, they are quick to act),” he observed.
Trillanes said the charges were “clear acts of political persecution and harassment by the Duterte administration meant to stifle democratic dissent.”
The PNP-CIDG on Thursday filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) complaints of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyberlibel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice against Trillanes, Vice President Leni Robredo, and other key opposition figures and their staff for their alleged involvement in the spread of the viral “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that implicated President Duterte’s family and allies in the illegal drug trade.
The complaints included, as basis, the statement of Advincula, who identified himself as “Bikoy” or the hooded man in the online series.
To recall, Advincula surfaced before the press last May repeating his claims in the videos only to recall them weeks later.
Surrounded by police officials at the PNP headquarters, he turned the table on Trillanes and members of the Liberal Party who allegedly hired him for what he called the “Project Sodoma” to supposedly destabilize the Duterte government.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he will form a panel of state prosecutors to hear the complaint and conduct the preliminary investigation.
But Trillanes appealed to the DOJ prosecutors to be careful and properly act on the cases.
“Sana lang ay mag-isip nang malalim at hindi magpagamit sa pulitika ang mga DOJ prosecutors na mag-iimbestiga nitong kasong ito. Bagkus ay gawin ang nararapat para lumabas ang katotohanan (I just hope that DOJ prosecutors look into these deeply and not allow themselves to be used in politics. Instead, they should do the right thing to ferret out the truth),” he said.
The opposition stalwart maintained that he will nevertheless face the charges and even said that he will use the opportunity to bare the supposed links of President Duterte in illegal drugs.