Opposition senators won’t be intimidated by charges linking them to ‘Bikoy’ videos

Published July 20, 2019, 2:25 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Vanne Terrazola

Opposition senators on Saturday said they will not be threatened by the charges filed against them over viral “Bikoy” videos.

Francis Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Francis Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Liberal Party (LP) president Senator Francis Pangilinan claimed that sedition and other cases filed against them were meant to silence “all” the critics of the Duterte administration.

“Hindi tayo magpapatinag sa pagtutol sa mga hindi tamang kilos ng gobyerno (We will not be shaken and will continue to reject the injustices of this government),” Pangilinan posted on Twitter.

“Hindi tayo titigil sa pakikipaglaban upang matigil na ang araw-araw na patayan ng mahihirap nating mga kababayan at matigil na rin ang pagsuko sa China at ang kawalan ng aksyon na proteksyunan ang ating mga mangingisda (We will not stop in fighting for an end to the killings targeting the poor and to also put an end to the government’s being subservient to China and its inaction in protecting our fishermen),” he vowed.

But he lamented what he called as harassment of opposition members, even with their loss in the May 13 midterm elections.

“Tapos na ang halalan. Malaki na ang panalo ninyo diba? Eh bakit kaming mga hindi nagwagi at pati mga tumututol sa ilang kilos ng administrasyon ay sinasampahan pa ng kaso at nais pang ipakulong? Pati mga obispo, mga pari hindi ninyo pinalampas?” he wrote.

(Elections are over. You already won, right? Then why would you still file cases and jail those who lost and were criticizing the administration? You did not even spare the bishops and priests?)

“Lasing lang sa kapangyarihan ang mga nasa likod ng mga kasong ito na nais parusahan ang mga hindi sunud-sunuran at hindi nagbubulagbulagan sa patayan ng mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan at sa pagsuko sa lahat ng kagustuhan ng China at pagabandona sa maliliit na mga mangingisda,” he added.

(Those behind these cases are thirsty for power and wanted to punish those who refuse to submit and be blind about the killings of our countrymen, yielding to China’s interest, and abandonment of our small fishers.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, said she will continue defending democracy and human rights.

“I assure you: in defense of democracy and human rights, we will not back down,” she also posted on social media.

Hontiveros earlier hit the Philippine National Police (PNP) for pursuing cases based on the flip-flopping statements of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed that the opposition was behind the controversial “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos to destabilize the government.

She likewise questioned the timing of the filing of charges.

“Days before the SONA, they premiered a badly-written telenovela w/ an awful script & miscast characters. To distract us from the real issues at hand? EJKs,China,incompetence?” Hontiveros wrote.

The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Thursday filed somplaints of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyberlibel cases, among others, against key opposition figures including Vice President Leni Robredo, Pangilinan, Hontiveros, Sen. Leila de Lima, former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino, losing Otso Diretso senatorial candidates, as well as members of the clergy, for their alleged involvement in the spread of the videos that tagged Duterte’s family and allies in the illegal drug trade.

The Department of Justice said it will form a panel of prosecutors to examine the complaints and conduct preliminary investigation.