By Jeffrey Damicog
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) admitted Wednesday (July 24) in helping prepare the sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula alias ‘Bikoy’ which has been used as part of the evidence in the complaint filed against opposition members for their alleged hand in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” viral videos.
With this, the OSG defended its decision to help out in the complaint that was filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation (PNP-CIDG) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last July 18.
Citing the Administrative Code of 1987, the OSG explained in a statement it is “the principal lawyer of Republic of the Philippines, and all its agencies and departments, which includes, among others, the PNP-CIDG.”
“It is the OSG’s legal duty to serve its clients when they seek legal advice,” the OSG statement stressed.
The OSG cited that even Constitutional law expert Dean Pacifico Agabin has already confirmed before the media “the legality of OSG’s action.”
On the other hand, the OSG clarified that its client is the PNP-CIDG and not Advincula who is being represented by lawyer Larry Gadon.
“The PNP-CIDG is our client, not Bikoy. Bikoy has his own private lawyer,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the OSG said it cannot provide any more details of the case now pending before the DOJ.
“It is also the duty of the OSG to abide by the client-lawyer confidentiality imposed by law,” it stated.
“Hence, as lawyers, we cannot divulge details or information about the specifics of this case,” it added.
The case stemmed from the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos which feature the hooded Bikoy who accused a number of personalities including family members of President Rodrigo Duterte as being involved in the illegal drugs trade.
In its complaint, the PNP-CIDG accused Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo and her co-respondents of having committed “Sedition, Inciting Sedition, Cyber Libel, Libel, Estafa, Harboring a criminal, and Obstruction of Justice.”
“In support of its complaint, PNP CIDG submitted, among others, the sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula y De Leon in which he detailed his supposed meetings with the aforementioned personalities and how they planned what he referred to as ‘Project Sodoma’,” the DOJ spokesman Undersecretary Markk Perete earlier stated.
“Project Sodoma allegedly sought to publicly discredit President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and destabilize his government by implicating him, his family and other government officials in drug syndicates,” he cited.
“The Project, planned as early as August 2018, likewise sought to allegedly discredit candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago while at the same time propping up those from the opposition Otso Diretso,” he added.
Aside from Robredo and Advincula, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are incumbent Senators Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros and Leila De Lima as well as former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
The complaint also named as respondents most of the losing “Otso Diretso” senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party, namely, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, former Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Robredo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III, and Samira Gutoc-Tomawis.
Lawyers included in the complaint are former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Theodore Te, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Egon Cayosa, former IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, Philip Sawali, Minerva Ambrosio, Serafin Salvador and someone known only as Chito.
Catholic Church leaders were also respondents in the complaint including Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vice president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, former CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, former Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, and Fr. Albert Alejo.
Other respondents include former Police Sr. Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Jonnell Sangalang, Yolanda Villanueva, Bro. Armin Luistro, Boom Enriquez, Vincent Romano III, Danilo Songco, a certain Monique, Joel Saracho, and Carmelito Salvador.