DOJ indicts 'sharer' of 'Bikoy' videos on inciting to sedition charge

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOJ indicts 'sharer' of 'Bikoy' videos on inciting to sedition charge
Rodel Jayme, administrator of metrobalita.net, faced members of the media on Friday, May 3, at the National Bureau of Administration headquarters.
The STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines— (Updated 6:11 p.m.) The Department of Justice on Monday indicted Rodel Jayme on a charge of inciting to sedition charges over the sharing of links of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

In a 13-page resolution, state prosecutors recommended the filing of information (or charge sheet) for violation of Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act against Jayme.

According to the Revised Penal Code, inciting to sedition can be done through speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other representations "that tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices."

Jayme is the web administrator of website metrobalita.net. The website “was constantly posting links of the aforesaid 'Ang Totoong Narcolist' which allowed public to have easier access” to the videos, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said last week.

The DOJ meanwhile ordered further investigation into a certain “Maru Nguyen” and “Maru Xie” on the possible participation in the offense allegedly committed by Jayme.The NBI alleged that Jayme’s conversations with “Maru Nguyen” and “Maru Xie” show “there is continuity of their efforts to conduct their scurrilous libellous attacks against the government.”

In a separate statement, the DOJ said that the inquest prosecutors found that the creation of metrobalita.net and the use of it to “circulate” the “Bikoy” videos...” was used for the purpose of weakening the confidence of the people and stir up dissent against it.”

DOJ: Jayme arrested in ‘hot pursuit’

Guevarra said in a televised press conference, Thursday, that he ordered an investigation into the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos—that alleged narcotics trade links to the Dutertes—on April 17.

DOJ and National Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a warrant for search and seizure of computer data on April 29. They served the warrant on April 30 and Jayme was arrested incidental to the search.

An earlier report on state-owned Philippine News Agency described Jayme as "a person of interest invited by the National Bureau of Investigation."

The NBI filed inciting to sedition raps against Jayme last Thursday, which was more than 48 hours since he was placed in government custody. The number of hours between the arrest and the filing of a complaint were well outside the allowed time to bring an arrested person for inquest proceeding.

The state prosecutors however said that Jayme’s arrest was legal because of the principle of “hot pursuit.”

"Since at the time that the [warrant] was implemented, the libellous videos and articles were still circulating online and excerpts of the videos were still being shown on television or heard over the radio, clearly, on offense is being committed, and an arrest of respondent without a warrant is justified,” the resolution further read.

'Dynamics of cybercrime'

In a televised press conference, Senior Assistant Anna Noreen Devanadera explained that the arrest was valid on “the dynamics of cybercrime.”

She said that the prosecution was operating on the theory that when Jayme was arrested, the post was still accessible and picked up by others. “The objective was still being met, which is to incite people to rise up against the government,” she explained in English and Filipino.

Asked on how this theory would render anyone vulnerable to similar charges, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera said: “That is speculative.”

‘Ang Totoong Narcolist’ probe

Jayme, in a press conference Friday last week, also repeatedly said that he was not given any videos and that he did not upload them.

He alleged that he was just tapped by someone, whom he said was a fellow supporter of the Liberal Party in the 2016 national elections, to create a website.

Jayme, however, refused to identify the person.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor  Navera however pointed out that Jayme’s defense was out of the prosecution’s record and would be threshed out in a court trial.

The NBI however said that Jayme may serve as state witness as the government continue to determine the uploader and creator of the anonymous videos.

In a related development, a certain Peter Joemel Advincula, who claims to be “Bikoy,” surfaced earlier today and claimed that there are threats to his life.

Advincula said he is seeking legal assistance from the IBP in issuing an affidavit and in filing cases against the individuals in the alleged syndicate that he named in the video.

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