Same videos, different charges: A look at the 'sedition' cases over the 'Bikoy' series
Peter Joemel Advincula who claimed that he is "Bikoy," the hooded man in the "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos, left the Philippine National Police headquarters on May 25, after he posted bail for estafa charges against him. But he returned two days later for protective custody.
The STAR/Boy Santos
Same videos, different charges: A look at the 'sedition' cases over the 'Bikoy' series
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 17, 2020 - 3:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — Government investigations into the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series led to an arrest warrant against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the hooded figure in the video, members of the clergy and a web administrator.

On February 10, roughly nine months since the government made an arrest involving the videos, the Justice department charged Trillanes and 10 others with conspiracy to commit sedition.

Also charged in the same case is Peter Joemel Advincula, the man claiming to be the narrator in the videos.

The 'Bikoy' videos

The video series, released in 2019, alleged that President Rodrigo Duterte, his family and his allies have links with illegal drugs. The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police filed separate complaints of inciting to sedition against different people over the videos.

The NBI said that the videos "malign" the president while the PNP said that the videos "spread false information" against Duterte and other government officials "to agitate the general population into making mass protest with the possibility of bringing down the president from the position."

The Justice department last week resolved the second government complaint that involved the anonymous video series.

Here is a look at the two cases filed in May 2019 and February 2020:

The case against the ‘sharer’ of the ‘Bikoy videos’

On April 30, 2019, authorities arrested web metrobalita.net administrator Rodel Jayme.

Jayme said he created the website because he was told it would be used to push certain political personalities’ “good acts,” but The Justice department said that records showed that metrobalita. net was “one of the first social media accounts to post the videos of ‘Bikoy’ posted on Youtube.com, with handle name ‘Ang Totoong Narcolist.’”

State prosecutors said that Jayme should be charged with inciting to sedition because the creation of website and posting the links to the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos “[are clear acts] to arouse among its viewers a sense of dissatisfaction against the duly constituted authorities.”

Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code provides that inciting to sedition can be committed through speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other representations that:

tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.

Inciting to sedition is punishable by prision correctional in its maximum period (four years, two months and one day to six years) and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos.

RELATED: Inside the inciting to sedition charge vs 'sharer' of 'Bikoy' videos

The case against 'Bikoy', Trillanes

A week after Jayme’s arrest, Peter Joemel Advincula showed up at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines where he, in a hastily arranged press conference, identified himself as “Bikoy,” the hooded figure in the videos.

He stood by the allegations of the video series and sought legal assistance.

Three weeks later, Advincula sang a different tune: At the Philippine National Police headquarters, he tagged Trillanes, Duterte's staunch critic, as the person behind the production of the videos.

READ: The shifting narratives on the 'Bikoy' videos, according to Peter Advincula

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group looked into Advincula’s allegations and, two months later, filed the largest legal suit of the government against the opposition

The CIDG filed an inciting to sedition case against more than 30 personalities, ranging from politicians—including Vice President Leni Robredo—to members of the clergy.

On February, state prosecutors charged Trillanes, Advincula, and nine others with conspiracy to commit inciting to sedition.

In a 52-paged resolution, state prosecutors said that while the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series contains “libelous imputations against President Duterte and his family which tend to create hatred or revenge against them, it does not fall under the definition of the crime of inciting to sedition.”

“To qualify the malicious imputations into inciting to sedition, the words uttered must tend to incite the people to take up arms and rise against the government,” they added.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas in a press conference late last week, said that the panel considered “the series of acts which clearly manifested that there is indeed... a grand conspiracy.”

These are the production of “Bikoy” videos, uploading, press conferences of Advincula, and former cop Eduardo Acierto—also charged in the case—linking Duterte and his family to illegal drug syndicates.

“Do not limit yourself to just the Bikoy videos. There were other acts that led us to say there was conspiracy to commit sedition,” Torrevillas explained.

Article 141 of the RPC provides that conspiracy to commit sedition is punishable by prision correctional in its medium period (two years, four months and one day to four years and two months) and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos.

‘Ang Totoong Narcolist’ cases handled by different prosecutors

Senior Assistant Noreen Devanadera and Associate Prosecution Attorney II Mary Grace Arboladura handled the case against Jayme, who was brought to the DOJ for inquest.

Meanwhile the CIDG’s complaint was handled by a three member panel of prosecutors, led by Torrevillas.

In a press conference on February 12, Torrevillas refused to comment on the case against Jayme as she said: “I apologize, but I am not aware of that case.”

Torrevillas also explained that they charged Trillanes with conspiracy to commit sedition, and not inciting to sedition as stated in CIDG’s complaint, “because in conspiracy to commit, there is an agreement and decision that ‘Okay, let’s commit this.’”

She added that the prosecutors need not go into overt acts of committing acts of sedition and that an agreement is already punishable under the law.

Torrevillas added that there were “mere indications that indeed there is a grand conspiracy to commit sedition.”

The prosecution panel, in the resolution, also said:

Even if these respondents are known leaders of the opposition, it does not immediately signify that they participated in, directly or indirectly, or even acquiesced to the conspiracy to unlawfully oust the present administration, in the absence of any other satisfactory evidence to prove their participation.

ANG TOTOONG NARCOLIST ANTONIO TRILLANES IV BIKOY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EXPLAINER PETER JOEMEL ADVINCULA SEDITION
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