Potential state witness: Web admin who may link LP and Magdalo to Bikoy videos

Lian Buan
Potential state witness: Web admin who may link LP and Magdalo to Bikoy videos
Rodel Jayme appears to be willing to name everyone he can, and praises NBI agents who have been holding him in custody without a warrant

MANILA, Philippines – High-school graduate web administrator Rodel Jayme is willing to drop names, and has so far mentioned opposition groups Liberal Party and Magdalo, as he is poised to become a state witness for the government manhunt into the man behind videos damaging to President Rodrigo Duterte and the first family.

“That’s very possible (for Jayme to become sate witness), that’s why if you look at the strategy of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), we have to file a case against him, because later on if we intend to consider him a state witness, he should be charged first,” NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin in a press conference on Friday, May 3.

“Handa po akong maging state witness kasi sabi ko nga po, wala po akong direktang alam, kaya ko pong ituro sino po ang nagpagawa,” the 27-year-old Jayme said. 

(I am ready to become state witness because as I said, I have no direct knowledge, [but] I can point to the people who made me do the website.)

The NBI filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday, May 2, a complaint for inciting to sedition against Jayme. Lavin said the cyber libel complaint will follow. 

Jayme said on Friday that on the request of a client – a person named “Maru Nguyen” – he created the website Metrobalita.net.

The NBI said the website spread Bikoy videos online, a series that links Duterte’s family and people close to them to the illegal drug trade. 

Jayme said there is a group of people behind the “operation” with Nguyen. “Hindi ko po alam kung malaking tao po sila pero sa akin pong kaalaman, kapwa ko po sila supporter noon, noong panahon ng presidential elections, ng partido po, partido Liberal po,” Jayme said.

(I don’t know if they’re big people but as far as I know, they are my fellow supporters during the time of the presidential elections, supporters of a party, the Liberal Party.)

Magdalo

Jayme said his only involvement was in creating the website. He said he did not have a hand in its  content.

“Kaya ko nasabi na parang nilaglag aka dahil kung tutuusin magkaibigan kami (ni Nguyen), magkakilala kami ng personal, bilang kaibigan, ginawa  ko ‘yun dahil sa pakiusap, kung tutuusin matagal na po Kong dumistansya sa usaping pulitika,” Jayme said, who admits to supporting the LP before and whose photo with Vice President Leni Robredo is being spread online by opposition critics.

(I said I felt betrayed because Nguyen and I are friends, we know each other personally, as a friend I did what she asked me to do, I have long distanced myself from politics.) 

Jayme said Nguyen offered the help of a “group” to finance him for a while so he can hide. “Hanggang matapos daw ang eleksyon. Ang sabi ng grupo delikado nga daw po, at wala akong kinalaman at nadawit daw ako (Until after the elections are over. The group said I’m at risk because I have no direct involvement but I’m the one being cornered),” Jayme said.

In the NBI complaint, Magdalo – the group of staunch administration critics Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and opposition senatorial bet Gary Alejano – was mentioned as having appeared in one of the chats between Jayme and Nguyen. (READ: Trillanes and the Magdalo: All grown up 15 years after Oakwood)

“Baka kausapin ka ng Magdalo (Magdalo might talk to you),” Nguyen supposedly said in the chat.

Lavin said that an investigation to identify members of Magdalo who could be involved is a track they would take.

“Soon as we are able to find out and validate the information contained in the conversations. If you noticed there were deleted messages, we hope we are able to retrieve this in secondary investigation, baka meron dung detalye,” said Lavin.

Jayme said he himself does not know any member from Magdalo. (READ: Legal questions on the arrest of ‘Bikoy’ video sharer)

Inciting to sedition

Lavin said there are chats between Jayme and Nguyen which can justify the filing of an inciting to sedition complaint. Among the definitions of inciting to sedition is to “incite people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government.”

“Not only because the first family is involved but because the context is to sow hatred towards the duly instituted authorities,” Lavin said.

Jayme was arrested on April 30 – a warrantless arrest “incidental to a search,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Jayme remains in the custody of the NBI pending the resolution of the DOJ inquest prosecutor. (READ: Other ‘Bikoy’ video sharers can be investigated too – DOJ)

Jayme said he cannot afford his own lawyer. He hasn’t been able to see a lawyer since his arrest except for when he underwent an inquest where a public lawyer assisted him.

“May kaba po ako, pero sa ngayon na nandito ako sa NBI, alam kong safe po ako sa pangunguna ng mga kasama ko ngayon sa NBI,” Jayme said.

(I am nervous but because I am here at the NBI, I know I am safe with these people here with me now.) – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.