VP asks DOJ to order PNP to produce evidence on sedition raps

By Jeffrey Damicog and Raymund Antonio 

The camp of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to order the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to produce the evidence against her concerning her alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” viral videos.

Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo file a motion asking for production of evidence from CIDG over sedition raps filed against her at the DOJ on Thursday, August 8, 2019. (Jeffrey Damicog / MANILA BULLETIN)
Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo file a motion asking for production of evidence from CIDG over sedition raps filed against her at the DOJ on Thursday, August 8, 2019. (Jeffrey Damicog / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo’s lawyers filed before the DOJ a motion asking for production and copying of evidence, a day before a panel of prosecutors starts on August 9, the preliminary investigation on the complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG against her and 35 others.

Robredo will not appear in Friday’s preliminary investigation but she will be represented by her counsel.

Lawyer Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez, Robredo’s legal counsel, explained they are taking no chances when they decided to file the motion as he reminded that the complaints filed against Sen. Leila de Lima and ousted Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno led to detention and ouster, respectively.

“So mahirap yung hindi nag-iingat. Kaya nga sa puntong ito, ang gusto namin play fair. Pakita nyo yung buong ebidensya (It’s better to be careful. That’s why at this point we want everyone to play fair. Show your evidence),” Gutierrez told reporters.

In its complaint that was filed before the DOJ last July 18, the PNP-CIDG accused Robredo and 35 others of having committed sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice.

The case stemmed from the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” which features Peter Joelmel Advincula alias “Bikoy” who accused a number of personalities including family members of President Duterte as being involved in the illegal drugs trade.

However, Advincula flip-flopped and has claimed that members of the opposition were behind the videos as part of Project Sodoma to discredit and destabilize the administration.

Gutierrez said they have a copy of Advincula’s sworn affidavit but observed there is nothing that links Robredo to the case.

“Halos walang laman yun na alegasyon laban kay VP Leni (It barely says anything against Robredo),” he stated.

In Robredo’s motion, her lawyers lamented that the PNP-CIDG “deliberately withheld alleged evidence other than the Sinumpaang Salaysay of respondent Advincula such that respondent (Robredo) is deprived of the right to adequately respond to the wild accusations against her.”

“It is glaring from the Sinumpaang Salaysay of respondent Advincula, however, that aside from a bare and unsubstantial allegation of the purported presence of respondent in an alleged meeting on March 4, 2019 (which is false), and a profile picture of respondent, there is neither allegation nor proof of respondent’s participation in the alleged crimes charged,” stressed the motion.

“Assuming that such alleged ‘evidence’ exists, respondent moves that the Honorable Office direct complainant to produce such alleged evidence and allow respondent to make copies and intelligently respond to the baseless and wild accusations against her in the present case,” the DOJ prosecutors were told.

In a related news, three high-ranking prelates of the Catholic Church submitted before the DOJ yesterday their response to the criminal complaints against them over their alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” viral videos.

The DOJ confirmed that those who filed counter-affidavits were Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Sorcates Villegas, the former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP); Caloocan City Bishop Pablo David, current CBCP vice president; retired Novaliches City Bishop Teodoro Bacani.

The prelates filed their counter-affidavits ahead of the start of the preliminary investigation of the complaint that will be conducted by a panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas.

 
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