Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee, scrapped the inquiry following disclosures from Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday that Advincula had attempted to peddle a similar story a few years ago but implicating former officials of the Aquino administration.
Geremy Pintolo
Senate panel calls off hearing on Bikoy claims
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs cancelled its scheduled inquiry today into the claims of ex-convict Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed “Bikoy” in the online videos that linked relatives of President Duterte to the illegal drug trade.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee, scrapped the inquiry following disclosures from Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday that Advincula had attempted to peddle a similar story a few years ago but implicating former officials of the Aquino administration.

“SP Sotto said it all. We are now recalling the letter of invitation sent to Advincula yesterday. Notices will be sent out for the cancellation of the committee hearing on Friday. Enough of this nonsense,” Lacson said in a Twitter post.

“The problem with asking Bikoy who are the people behind him is if we will believe him,” he said.

Advincula surfaced on Monday and claimed that he is the hooded narrator “Bikoy” in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that linked several relatives of Duterte as well as his allies to the illegal drug trade.

Bikoy had linked Duterte’s relatives, including his son former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte, son-in-law Manases Carpio and former special assistant Christopher Go to the narcotics trade.

Lacson said Advincula’s allegations were concocted.

The committee sent an invitation to Advincula, through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which provided him a venue for his press conference at the IBP’s Pasig City headquarters on Monday.

Lacson said the panel will hold a hearing only if Advincula personally presents his sworn statement and evidence to support his accusations.

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.

Sotto said Advincula was the same person who approached his office in November 2016 through an intermediary offering information that supposedly implicated former president Benigno Aquino III, former executive secretary Paquito Ochoa and Sen. Leila de Lima, among others, as part of a drug syndicate.

The Senate President presented to reporters a powerpoint presentation comparing the details of Advincula’s allegations in his affidavit that he issued in 2016, and the one he purportedly made in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that showed striking similarities, except for the names of those implicated.

“What’s important is the lesson, also possibly for good legislation, is before you believe claims like these, especially one that destroys the reputation of other people, investigate first, vet it first,” Sotto told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.

“It’s not that I’m taking up the cudgels for anyone. I’m just stating the facts. What I’m saying is that in 2016, he did the same thing. I can only suspect and I can only surmise that perhaps it has something to do with the 2019 elections,” he said.

He said those behind or coddling Advincula must be more circumspect, adding it was good the IBP appears to be distancing itself from him after providing the venue for the press conference.

‘Not credible’

Sotto said it would have been easy for him to promote Advincula’s claims back in 2016 with his strong stance against illegal drugs but he thought it prudent to verify the allegations.

He said all sorts of information and claims reach the Senate offices that should not be taken hook, line and sinker. He said he dispatched his political officer Hutch Altavas to the New Bilibid Prison to interview Advincula, who was convicted for fraud.

Altavas reported back to Sotto, saying he found Advincula not credible but verifications were made on his allegations.

Sotto said Advincula in his 2016 affidavit and the statement to the media on Monday both stated he was an executive of First VitaPlus/VitaPlus.

He also used the terms “patron” and “patriarch” in his affidavit, statement to the media and in the video to refer to the leaders of the so-called “Quadrangle Syndicate.”

The difference though is that in the affidavit among the “patrons” in the “Quadrangle Syndicate” were Aquino, De Lima and businessman Elizalde Co, while in his media statement and video, they were presidential son Paolo and Go.

Other inconsistencies and false information Sotto said he found in Advincula’s previous and latest allegations were on the bank accounts, like the one supposedly in HSBC, that when checked in 2016 were found to be non-existent. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

PETER JOEMEL ADVINCULA SENATE COMMITTEE “BIKOY” VIDEOS
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