Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to invite Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, to determine the veracity of his allegations.
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Senate, NBI set probe of ‘Bikoy’ allegations
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - May 8, 2019 - 12:00am

‘He must present evidence’

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will investigate the man who surfaced and claimed to be “Bikoy” in the “Ang Totoong Narco-list” videos that linked several relatives of President Duterte to the illegal drug trade in the country.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to invite Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, to determine the veracity of his allegations.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs has set a hearing on Friday regarding the allegations made by Advincula against some members of Duterte’s family, but this would depend on whether or not he will appear before the panel and provide a sworn statement to back up his claims.

“Peter Advincula can go to the NBI and present his evidence, if he has any,” Guevarra stressed in an interview.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) chief, however, warned Advincula that he could find himself in trouble should he fail to prove his allegations.

He said Advincula, a former convict, could face criminal cases over his accusations against members of the Duterte family and other personalities he implicated in his videos.

“If the NBI finds that Advincula had nothing to show by way of competent evidence, he might find himself in the same boat as Rodel Jayme,” Guevarra added.

Jayme is the arrested creator of the website metrobalita.net where the videos were first posted on the internet.

He was indicted by the DOJ for inciting to sedition in relation to the cybercrime law in a case filed yesterday before the Parañaque City regional trial court.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee, said the panel may hold an inquiry on Advincula’s claims as early as this week, but only if he personally presents his sworn statement and evidence to support his accusations.

“Like it or not, Bikoy has become a political, if not an election, issue. The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs can schedule a hearing this week on one condition: Bikoy must personally present a sworn statement and his evidence to support his accusations,” Lacson said in a Twitter post.

The committee was to send a formal invitation letter to Advincula to be coursed through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) “since it was the last known link to him and they may have knowledge of how to relay the invitation to him,” he said.

He indicated one of the goals of the hearing would be to bolster proposed legislation providing heavier penalties against perjury, especially before congressional investigations.

An early hearing would provide the public a chance to see for themselves if the allegations have basis, Lacson said.

“In fairness to those ‘Bikoy’ linked to the drug trade, the hearing will allow the public to observe his demeanor and determine if his claims are true. And if his claims have basis, it will allow voters to reject those involved,” he said in an interview on dzMM.

He added Advincula must provide documents to support his claims, for evaluation by his committee.

He said the hearing may provide added inputs on legislation against perjury, especially in congressional investigations.

Advincula said he was a former employee of VitaPlus, a franchise of First Quadrant multilevel marketing company, and categorically identified the President’s son Paolo Duterte, Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte; and former special assistant Bong Go as leaders of the Davao group that works with the Quadrangle group connected with the illegal drug trade in Bicol.

“I decided to come out first, because there is a threat to my life, and second, because my conscience cannot take the destruction of the family brought about by illegal drugs where I had been a part when I was still a member of the syndicate,” he said.

In the videos, Bikoy accused Go, Paolo Duterte, Carpio and the President’s youngest daughter Veronica or Kitty of receiving millions of pesos from the illegal drug trade.

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 that included former politicians and businessmen.

The NBI yesterday said they will subpoena Advincula to shed light on his allegations.

“We would send subpoena to his last known address but we anticipate that he won’t be there. The investigation is ongoing and since he said he wanted to face a Senate investigation, maybe it will be a good idea if he should come to the NBI and tell us everything he knows,” NBI CyberCrime Division chief Vic Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo said the name “Advincula” came out during the investigation of Jayme “but we were not certain about his identity.”

“The name was mentioned in the Facebook conversations of Jayme and Maru Nguyen but we had hints from the intelligence community. Now that he came out in the open he might as well divulge everything,” he said.

He said the investigation on Advincula will start from his background, his criminal records and other useful information from sources.

President Duterte has chosen to be quiet for now on the latest revelations made by Advincula alias Bikoy.

The Palace has dismissed as mere black propaganda the claims of Advincula.

According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, he briefed the President about Advincula when they talked during the Cabinet meeting last Monday.

Asked about the reaction of the President, Panelo said he merely listened to him about his updates. “Wala. Kasi ang (None. Because the) style ni Presidente, ‘pag may nag-iimbestiga na, hayaan na lang (if there is an investigation, just let it be completed). He’ll just wait for the report,” he said.

Panelo maintained that there are personalities behind Advincula’s accusations but he did not name them pending official results of investigation conducted separately by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from the NBI.

“There are strong indications that Advincula is not alone but is just being used by a personality in conspiracy with others bent on destroying the reputation of the Duterte family and tarnishing the image of the President,” he said.

Panelo also downplayed claims that the accuser is receiving death threats.

“Bikoy’s pretended fear for his life is part of the fraudulent act,” he said.

Panelo vowed that the government is out to unmask “the pretenders and black propagandists” soon.

“We assure the public that this administration has committed, and continues to commit itself, to the protection and preservation of the safety and general welfare of the Filipino people, as well as their right to seek redress from the government,” he said.

Guevarra urged Advincula to cooperate with authorities if he really has evidence to prove his claims.

He explained that the DOJ could even place him under its witness protection program (WPP) should he meet the qualifications.

“The usual practice is for the witness to apply for WPP coverage, then we evaluate if he qualifies under the law,” Guevarra explained.

Last Monday, Advincula surfaced and held a press conference at the IBP headquarters in Pasig City and reiterated his story that several personalities supposedly belonging to the Quadrangle and Davao groups are involved in the illegal drug trade.

He stood by his claims that the President’s children as well as his partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña and their daughter Kitty benefitted from illegal drugs.

Advincula admitted that he had served prison term from 2012 to 2016 after his conviction for illegal recruitment and large scale estafa. There were reports that he also has pending estafa cases filed against him in Bicol.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and other sources recalled how a man with the same surname had previously surfaced with the same story but with a different target.

Sotto reportedly bared at a press conference in Laguna yesterday that he also received between 2014 to 2015 almost the same information shared by Advincula.

He said that a certain Mr. Advincula also told a story about the Quadrangle Group from Bicol being behind the illegal drug trade – but claimed that they had links to former president Benigno Aquino III.

Sotto did not elaborate on the supposed drug links of those who were named but said the informant also provided documents, among them “bank accounts” to support his claim.

He said his staff investigated the allegations but were not convinced with the information provided by the accuser.

NBI sources revealed that Advincula also surfaced in December 2016 and presented the same story implicating Aquino to one of their agents. But the investigation also did not materialize.

The PNP is also investigating if Advincula is really involved in the illegal drug trade as he claimed.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said they will also validate if Advincula is the hooded narrator in the videos.

“We conducted profiling on this Advincula and it appears he was convicted for large-scale illegal recruitment and served for six years,” Albayalde said. Records show that Advincula also has another case pending before the NBI for estafa.

Advincula was a former seminarian, according to Albayalde, a background which he could have used to deceive people.

IBP participation

Guevarra yesterday called on the leadership of the IBP to be careful in participating in political controversies.

He lamented the role of the IBP when they accommodated Advincula.

“The IBP says they do not consider Advincula as their client yet. But I wish the IBP will exercise utmost circumspection at all times,” Guevarra stressed.

He explained that the IBP, which is under supervision of the Supreme Court, is supposed to isolate itself from political influences as the organization is required to be non-partisan and non-political under its charter.

Several quarters, including Lacson, have questioned the IBP’s assistance to Advincula, saying the organization should be extra careful so as not to be accused of involvement in partisan politics.

Outgoing IBP national president Abdiel Dan Fajardo claimed that they too were caught off guard by Advincula’s appearance in their office.

He said a group of nuns only referred Advincula to the IBP for possible legal assistance.

The IBP Davao City chapter has decried the action taken by the IBP national chapter in allowing Advincula to hold a press conference in their premises.

IBP Davao said it does not and will not tolerate any statements by the present leadership of the IBP national that will result in politicizing the organization.

The IBP Davao chapter stressed that it has nothing to do with the move of the IBP head chapter when it allowed itself to be used as the staging area for Bikoy’s show.

“Certainly, the drama reeks of political agenda, and the sole decision of the present leadership of the IBP National. The IBP Davao City chapter is neither privy to Bikoy’s show nor supportive of the same. It does not reflect the sentiment of the membership of the chapter as an organization,” the IBP Davao board of officers said in a statement yesterday.

Reelectionist Sen. Grace Poe said that the claims of Advincula should go through the legal process.

Poe said if he really has proof, he should show it.

“It has to go through legal process, show evidence because the problem is, it doesn’t mean that just because it was shown on the internet then it is already true,” she added.

Sen. Leila de Lima is calling for an investigation into the allegations of Advincula.

De Lima said the appearance of Advincula proves that there is a real person behind the viral video “Ang Totoong Narcolist” and that he is willing to risk his life to expose what he knows about the alleged involvement of the family and close friends of President Duterte in illegal drugs.

She said that authorities should take Bikoy seriously and investigate his allegations.

She said this administration has shown that it is more interested in “shooting the messenger” rather than letting due process take its course.

“Is Bikoy for real or is he a scammer as alleged by Polong (Paolo Duterte)? What if he has credible evidence? He deserves to be heard,” she said. – With Paolo Romero, Rey Galupo, Christina Mendez, Emmanuel Tupas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edith Regalado, Eva Visperas

BIKOY NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION PETER JOEMEL ADVINCULA
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