Gadon, a lawyer and occasional endorser of shampoo, said that the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group may have asked the Office of the Solicitor General to review his client Peter Joemel Advincula's affidavit.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
Potential OSG involvement in 'Bikoy' affidavit 'perfectly normal,' Gadon says
( - July 24, 2019 - 1:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyer Larry Gadon, counsel of Peter Joemel Advincula, said Wednesday that he does not know whether the Office of the Solicitor General was involved in preparing his client's affidavit, which is the basis for raps filed against people critical of the Duterte administration.

The police filed the complaint against Advincula, as well as Vice President Leni Robredo and dozens others associated with the political opposition and with the Catholic Church of conspiring "to spread false information against President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s family and administration officials in order to agitate the general population."

This, they said, was meant to stir the public "into making mass protest with the possibility of bringing down the president from the position and allow Vice-President Robredo to instantly succeed."

Personalities involved—except for Advincula, who claims to be the hooded man in the "Bikoy" videos—have denied involvement in any supposed conspiracy. Advincula initially stood by the allegations in the videos then later recanted them in a press conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters.

Also named in the complaint were members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, the Liberal Party-led "Otso Diretso" senatorial slate and the Free Legal Assistance Group.

RELATED: CBCP, legal assistance group slam criminal raps filed vs Robredo, opposition figures

'OSG personnel among authors of Word document'

Gadon was responding to an ABS-CBN News report that personnel of the OSG may have been involved in preparing the complaint. This, despite the Palace already saying it has nothing to do with the case.

ABS-CBN's Mike Navallo reported that among the authors of a Word document of Advincula's draft affidavit were "a senior secretary for an Assistant Solicitor General" and a lawyer also with the OSG.

In a statement sent to reporters, Gadon said that "the OSG was not present when the statements of 'Bikoy' were being taken." He said that he does not know know how the office, which is headed by Jose Calida, is involved but also said it "was probably consulted by the [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group] after the statements were taken."

Gadon stressed, however, that the OSG's involvement would be "perfectly normal" since "all agencies consult the OSG."

He said "there is nothing wrong nor sinister with that since the OSG is the lawyer of the government ." 

According to the Administrative Code, the solicitor general is "the principal law officer and legal defender of the government" and "shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer."

In a message to reporters, the OSG said that while it cannot divulge details of the case because of lawyer-client privilege, it said it is part of its duty "to serve its clients when they seek legal advice."

"The PNP-CIDG is our client, not Bikoy. Bikoy has his own private lawyer," it also said.

Gadon: OSG assistance not 'oppression of opposition'

Gadon also said that he "takes exception" to a supposed statement by Constitutional expert Pacifico Agabin, former dean of the UP College of Law, that "since OSG was allegedly involved in the preparation of the Bikoy Affidavit it could mean oppression of the opposition."

Agabin did not say that and was even cited in the ABS-CBN News report as saying that "there's nothing illegal if indeed the OSG reviewed Advincula’s affidavit."

He did say, though, that it might not look good. He said that since most of the respondents are from the opposition, the OSG's involvement "might be seen as an attempt to silence the opposition."

Gadon stressed Wednesday: "The acts of OSG in giving advice should not be translated right away into oppression of opposition, otherwise the OSG will be stifled."

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo last week said that the Palace is not involved in the raps against the dozens of people in the opposition.

"That's basically the complaint of Bikoy," he said, referring to Advincula.

"We don't have anything to do with it. How can that be political harassment? It’s between Bikoy and them."

Panelo also played down Gadon's involvement in the case, saying Gadon is just a lawyer who has clients.

Gadon, a Duterte supporter and Marcos loyalist, was a central figure in moves to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice in 2018. — Jonathan de Santos with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

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