Respondents: Why is OSG at preliminary probe on sedition raps?
Peter Advincula alias "Bikoy", assisted by Atty. Larry Gadon, is the PNP's witness in its inciting to sedition complaint against Vice President Robredo, opposition senators Antonio Trillanes, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, some church leaders and others.
The STAR/Russell Palma
Respondents: Why is OSG at preliminary probe on sedition raps?
( - August 9, 2019 - 2:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Respondents in the sedition complaint that police filed against opposition figures questioned the Office of the Solicitor General's authority to represent the complainants at the preliminary investigation into the complaint on Friday.

The Department of Justice held its first preliminary investigation proceeding into the sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo and more than 30 others.

During the preliminary investigation, lawyer Arno Sanidad, who represents Chel Diokno, questioned the OSG's authority to be involved in the proceedings.

The attendance sheet for the preliminary investigation showed at least two laywers from the OSG, who noted that they represent the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

'Tribune, not tuta'

Former Sen. Rene Saguisag, legal counsel of respondent Sen. Risa Hontiveros, also questioned the OSG's involvement in the complaint.

“[The] OSG should be tribune of people. It should not be the ‘tuta’ of this administration,” he said.

Lawyer Filibon Tacardo, who represents Sen. Leila De Lima, seconded Saguisag’s motion.

Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda said that the OSG is acting as “tribune of the people.”

READ: Potential OSG involvement in 'Bikoy' affidavit 'perfectly normal,' Gadon says

With at least three lawyers raising the issue, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas said that they have five days to put their manifestation into writing. The OSG has five days to file their answer to the manifestation.

Solicitor general's mandate

ABS-CBN News reported 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.

The report added that among the authors of a Word document of Peter Joemel Advincula’s draft affidavit were a “senior secretary of an Assistant Solicitor General” and a lawyer also working with the OSG.

The PNP’s complaint is anchored on Advincula’s testimony.

READ: Robredo asks DOJ to order police to produce evidence in sedition rap

Lawyer Larry Gadon, who represents Advincula, earlier denied the OSG’s participation when his client’s statements were taken.

He said however that the PNP-CIDG may have consulted the OSG after Advincula’s testimony was taken.

The OSG earlier clarified the PNP-CIDG is its client, and not Advincula.

The Administrative Code provides that the solicitor general is “the principal law officer and legal defender of the government.” It shall also 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."

The same code states that the OSG shall "[r]epresent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party."

This means that should the case reach the Court of Appeals, the OSG would represent the DOJ.

The proceeding is currently at the preliminary investigation stage, and has yet to reach any court. — Kristine Joy Patag

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