Senator Antonio Trillanes IV delivered his privilege speech on the 'Bikoy' controversy at the Senate on Monday.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo
Trillanes: 'Bikoy' reached out in 2018; I didn't believe him
Rosette Adel ( - May 27, 2019 - 8:33pm

MANILA, Philippines— Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday said he had met Peter Joemel Advincula who he said reached out to his office months before recanting and accusing the outgoing senator of plotting to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.

Advincula has twice claimed that he is “Bikoy,” the hooded figure in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” (The True Narcolist) videos accusing Duterte and his family of involvement in drug trafficking.

In his privilege speech at the Senate on Monday, Trillanes, a vocal critic of the president, denied Advincula’s allegation that he is plotting to oust the president.

Trillanes said “Bikoy” approached him last August through priests who had given Advincula shelter.

“Ayon sa kanila (priest), ito raw si Bikoy ay humingi sa kanila ng sanctuary dahil siya raw ay papatayin ng sindikato ng mga taga-sindikato na involved sa illegal na droga,” Trillanes said.

(According to them (priests), this Bikoy asked for sanctuary because he claimed that syndicates... that people with the syndicates involved in illegal drugs were out to kill him.)

“Pinakinggan ko siya. Subalit nakulangan ako at naguluhan sa mga detalye kaya isinantabi ko at tuluyan nang kinalimutan ang usapang ito,” he added.

(I listened to him but I was not satisfied and found inconsistencies in the details he provided, so I set the issue aside and eventually forgot all about it)

Trillanes said that he never mentioned this encounter with Bikoy to the media even if he faced possible arrest in September last year.

Priests returned with documents

The senator said the priests came back to him to provide documents allegedly containing the details of the bank accounts of syndicate leaders.

“Ayon sa kanila, ang mga ito ay galing sa kasamahan ni Bikoy na mga miyembro ng sindikato. Ang mga ito raw ay sina Jessmark Acosta at Dan de Vera,” Trillanes said.

(According to them, these documents are from the allies of Bikoy who are members of syndicate. They said they were Jessmark Acosta and Dan de Vera)

“Ang pagkuha ng mga dokumento rin daw ang dahilan kung bakit nakatanggap ang mga pari ng mga death threats sa kanilang mga telepono,” he added.

(Obtaining the documents were also the reason the priests received death threats on their phones)

Trillanes noted that it was coincidentally the same time that Duterte talked about killing priests and bishops.

In December, Duterte said bishops should be killed for they are useless and “all they do is criticize.”

Duterte continued his tirades early 2019 but backtracked on February 25 and warned those who are threatening the priests to “lay off” or risk facing him.

READ: Duterte changes tune, now warns those threatening to harm priests | A look at the Church's 'tirades' vs Duterte

Trillanes said he sought help from members of the media and investigative journalists local and internationally to verify the documents the priests gave him.

He said there is a possibility that money could be traced but it may take time.

Not the first to promise an exposé

According to Trillanes, Bikoy is not the first to reach out to him with a supposed exposé. He said that in early 2017, a woman who identified herself as Mina also approached him but did not pass the vetting process either.

Trillanes said Mina did not only fail his vetting process but also demanded money in exchange of information.

“’Nung hindi nabigyan bigla nang tumalon sa kabila at dun na naman nanghihingi ng pera (When we didn’t give her money, she jumped ship and asked the other side for money),” he said.

During his speech, Trillanes showed videos that he said support his claims.

Bikoy already lost value, credibility as witness

The senator said this is similar to Bikoy who flip-flopped and “lost value and credibility” as a witness.

Trillanes pointed out that Senate President Vicente Sotto III also cast doubt on the credibility of Bikoy, saying he had also tagged former President Benigno Aquino III in illegal drugs in 2016.

“I stand by my track record here in the Senate. Kapag sigurado ako sa isang testigo, ebidensya o akusasyon, nilalabas ko at tinitindigan ko rito sa Senado,” Trillanes said.

(I stand by my track record here in the Senate. When I am sure of the witness, evidence or accusation, I release them and stand by it in the Senate floor).

“Mabigat ang prosesong pinagdadaanan ng mga prospective witnesses na lumalapit sa amin kasi kapag hindi katotohanan ang ilalabas ng mga ito, madali silang gibain ng mga tanong ng mga senador,” he added.

(The process prospective witnesses who reach out to us go through is hard because if they do not tell the truth, they will be debunked by the senators easily)

Despite the supposed lack of credibility of Bikoy, Trillanes said he does not blame the priests for believing him because it is “part of their ministry.”

Trillanes formally turned over the videos and documents to the secretariat of the Senate.

Last week, Bikoy claimed Trillanes and the Liberal Party were behind the "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos. The police have acknowledged the allegation which has yet to be substantiated with evidence.

READ: Palace to Trillanes: Good luck with possible jail time after ‘Bikoy’ revelation

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