NBI files raps vs man who shared ‘Bikoy’ videos

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
NBI files raps vs man who shared �Bikoy� videos
Rodel Jayme, the administrator of a website where the ‘Bikoy’ videos were first uploaded, is escorted out of the Department of Justice building in Manila following an inquest yesterday. The suspect, whose photos have been circulating online (right inset), was arrested by NBI agents last April 30.
Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed charges against the alleged administrator of a website where the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos – which implicated President Duterte’s relatives in the illegal drug trade – were first shared, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

The NBI’s Cybercrime Division (CCD) filed charges of inciting to sedition in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, against Rodel Jayme, creator of metrobalita.net where the YouTube link of “Ang Totoong Narcolist” was reportedly first posted.

metrobalita.net was found yesterday filled with Japanese characters.

In his Twitter account, Jayme is described as a blogger, gamer, licensed amateur radio operator.

NBI agents arrested Jayme at his residence in Parañaque City last April 30.

“Jayme was arrested by the NBI-CCD who would present him for inquest at the National Prosecution Service. I will leave the existence of probable cause to the sound judgment of the inquest prosecutor,” Guevarra added.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Devanadera and Associate Prosecutor Mary Grace Arboladura presided over the inquest proceeding past 5 p.m. yesterday.

Jayme waived his right to file a counter affidavit, and the DOJ would now determine if there is probable cause to file the complaint in court. The complaint is now submitted for resolution.

Jayme is currently detained at the NBI.

Guevarra narrated that on Holy Wednesday, April 17, he instructed his department’s Office of Cybercrime headed by Undersecretary Charito Zamora and NBI-CCD to initiate a joint investigation to uncover the producer and uploader of the videos that featured a man wearing a hooded shirt who introduced himself as “Bikoy” and claimed to be a former member of a drug syndicate.

In his five videos, among those Bikoy tagged was a minor.

The narrator accused the President’s children Paolo and Sara and her husband Manases Carpio, former special assistant to the president Christopher “Bong” Go as well as Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña and their 15-year-old daughter Kitty of benefitting from the illegal drug trade.

The narrator alleged that Honeylet was receiving money from drug syndicates through bank accounts in the name of Kitty.

In the videos, Bikoy claimed that Go and some members of the President’s family were involved in the operations of an illegal drug syndicate called the “Davao Group.”

Bikoy accused Go, Paolo Duterte, Veronica (Kitty) and Manases Carpio of receiving millions of pesos from the drug ring.

In the fifth episode of the video series uploaded in late April, Bikoy said a drug syndicate working out of Bicol was called the “Quadrangle Group” and included former politicians and businessmen.

Bikoy identified the leader of the Quadrangle as Albay businessman and Misibis Bay resort owner Elizaldy Co.

He also identified the other members of the group as Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado, former Camarines Sur congressman and governor Luis Villafuerte, Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua, Sorsogon senior provincial board member Krunimar Escudero, Victor Lorenzo Rosales, Naga businessman Thomas Enrile and businesswoman Tess Rañola.

Guevarra denied that Malacañang ordered them to investigate Bikoy and his videos.

“This initiative was taken by the DOJ in the light of serious allegations by an unknown person. Before we consider investigating the allegations… we ought to find out about this person and his background and whether or not to pursue Bikoy’s allegations,” he added.

During the investigation, it was discovered that a certain website, metrobalita.net, was reportedly constantly posting videos accessible to the public.

Last April 29, the NBI-CCD applied for and secured a search warrant from Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano against Jayme on the grounds of violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Agents of the NBI-CCD served the warrant at 4 a.m. last Tuesday at Jayme’s Parañaque residence.

Gueverra said Jayme surrendered his desktop, mobile phone and ISP (internet service provider) billings.

Jayme then “voluntarily” went to the NBI to clarify the publication of the Ang Totoong Narcolist videos in the website.

Based on the findings of the NBI’s Digital Forensic Laboratory on the gadgets and equipment found in Jayme’s house, it was allegedly learned that suspect “is indeed registrant of the metrobalita.net and he published the link of the Ang Totoong Narcolist on the website that facilitated circulation of the videos.”

When asked if Jayme is “Bikoy,” Guevarra said they have “no clear information” on that.

“Jayme and Bikoy may not necessarily be the same person. We don’t know the exact identity of Bikoy,” he said.

They are also still checking if it was Jayme who uploaded the videos on YouTube.

Guevarra hinted at the possibility that aside from Jayme there would be other personalities who would be investigated.

“We are not done with this guy (Jayme) yet. After further investigation some other people, some special people who propagated the video in a very vigorous manner, may be investigated further,” he added.

Zamora added that they have already solicited the assistance of Google, the owner of YouTube, to preserve the data and they responded positively – up to a year while the legal process is ongoing.

NBI public information chief Nick Suarez said the suspect was brought for inquest but details have been withheld pending follow-up operations.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said operations are aimed at reeling in the persons behind the libelous video, which was meant to besmirch the reputation of the President and his family.

Fake news uploaders

Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday said the government should arrest all of those who upload fake news online and not just those deemed to be critical of the administration.

Reacting to the arrest of the person who supposedly shared the videos that tagged President Duterte’s family and his associates to a drug syndicate, Robredo said the government should fairly treat all of those deemed to spread false information.

“I hope all of those who upload fake news are arrested. For example, I am also a victim of fake news since 2016, but it appears that some of those who make fake news (against me) are even paid by the government,” she told reporters in Sorsogon.

“I hope they are treated the same way. (If that’s how they do it, then) all of those who tell lies should be arrested and made accountable,” she added.

Robredo said the man who shared the so-called “Bikoy” videos should be made accountable if proven that the claims were lies.

“But in the same manner, do not be selective. All of those who post or upload lies should be made accountable,” she added.

Sen. Francis Pangilanan said yesterday that the release of the oust Duterte matrix was meant to divert the attention of the public from the legitimate concerns of the people.

Pangilinan said the Duterte administration has been blaming the opposition whenever the government is faced with a crisis like rice supply shortage and the issue on wealth.

“It has been a pattern that when the administration is faced with certain accusations, they will create a scenario. It has happened before,” he noted.

Bikoy, in a series of videos uploaded on the internet, linked the Dutertes to the narcotics trade.

The release of the videos of Bikoy was allegedly part of the ouster plot “matrix” released by Malacañang that implicated news organizations Rappler, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Vera Files as well as the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.

Police and the military earlier said they have not monitored any specific threat to oust the President. But Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said they would look into the personalities named in the matrix.

Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras yesterday called for the filing of criminal charges against those behind the Bikoy videos.

Paras said he would file criminal charges against the people behind the controversial video.

“The video is merely a product of certain peoples’ imagination and has no basis in fact. The false representation the video imparts to the public maligns the good reputation and image of the President,” Paras explained. – With Rey Galupo, Janvic Mateo, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mayen Jaymalin 

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