File photo shows Peter Joemel Advincula, who claims to be the "Bikoy" in videos that police say are part of an ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The STAR/Boy Santos
DOJ starts probe into sedition raps vs Robredo, others
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - August 9, 2019 - 12:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice on Friday started its preliminary probe into the police’s sedition complaint against more than 30 people from the political opposition and from the clergy.

The Philippine National Police tagged more than 30 people perceived to be critics of the government in a suit that accuses them of conspiring to oust President Rodrigo Duterte by releasing a series of anonymously posted videos alleging drug links.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is also the chair of the minority Liberal Party, is the highest-ranking official named as a respondent in the complaint.

Robredo on Thursday moved to defer her submission of a counter-affidavit until the DOJ orders the police to produce its evidence in their allegations.

Others named in the complaint are failed senatorial bets fielded by the LP, former senators associated with the LP, Catholic Church leaders and lawyers.

READ: PNP files criminal raps vs Robredo, Trillanes, dozen others over 'Bikoy' videos

Filing of counter-affidavits deferred

During the preliminary investigation proceeding, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas said they received at least 15 motions that arose from the possibility that the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group may yet submit additional evidence.

According to its website, the CIDG's mandate involves the "investigation and prosecution of all crimes involving economic sabotage and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly placed or professional criminal syndicates or organizations."

Torrevillas, who heads the panel of prosecutors for the complaint, said the filing of counter-affidavits has been suspended and deferred "pending the resolution of these 15 motions." 

The prosecutors gave the PNP-CDIG five days from receipt of the pleadings to submit its comment and opposition to the respondents’ motions.

“After five days, with or without comment, we will have the motion submitted for resolution,” Torrevillas said.

“Only those [pieces of] evidence submitted by the CIDG and only those [pieces of] evidence which are already part of the record, will be appreciated and considered in resolving complaint,” she added.

Torrevillas set the tentative filing of the respondents’ counter-affidavits on September 6.

Advincula: Affiant and respondent

The complaint is based largely on allegations by Peter Joemel Advincula, a convicted fraudster, who twice claimed to be the hooded figure in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

Doubts swirl around Advincula’s credibility due to his earlier conviction, which the Palace pointed out when he was still standing by the allegations in the videos, is a heinous crime.

Senate President Vicente Sotto also said Advincula was same person who reached out to his office in 2016, accusing President Benigno Aquino III, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima of having links to a drug syndicate called “Quadrangle.” 

A congressional hearing into the allegations in the videos was called off after Sotto made the revelation about Advincula at a press forum at the Senate.

Advincula applied to the government's witness protection program last week.

BIKOY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LENI ROBREDO PETER JOEMEL ADVINCULA SEDITION
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