Lawyer asks Supreme Court to investigate IBP over ‘Bikoy’ issue
Lawyer asks Supreme Court to investigate IBP over ‘Bikoy’ issue

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio says in a 3-page letter filed with the office of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin it was 'highly improper' for the IBP to allow political use of their premises

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court should investigate and hold accountable officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) who allowed their premises to be used by alleged whistle-blower Peter Joemel Advincula, alias “Bikoy.”

In a sworn 3-page letter filed at the Office of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Monday, May 27, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said that when IBP national outgoing president Abdiel Dan Fajardo allowed Advincula to use the IBP headquarters for his press conference, he may have violated Article I, Section 4 of the IBP by-laws which mandates the IBP to be non-political.

In that press conference on May 6, Advincula accused family members of President Rodrigo Duterte of being linked to the illegal drug trade, saying he was seeking the legal assistance of the IBP. He also said he wanted to sue the President’s son Paolo, former presidential aide and senator-elect Bong Go, and Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

During that press conference, the IBP logo was visible in the background both in photos and video, Topacio pointed out, leaving the impression that the organization was supporting claims made by Advincula.

Fajardo had earlier asserted that Advincula was received by the IBP no differently from anyone who comes to them for legal assistance.

In a statement, the IBP said, “In the pursuit of its mandate to provide access to justice to the poor and the marginalized, the IBP cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party.”

Advincula, according to Topacio, was accompanied by IBP National Director for Legal Aid Minerva Ambrosio and some Catholic nuns.

Article I, Section 2 says the IBP should strive to “elevate the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively.”

Topacio pointed out in his letter that Advincula’s press conference was “obviously not in accordance with the said objectives and purposes, hence, it was highly improper for its officers…to have accommodated Advincula using the IBP premises as a medium for his press conference.”

Current IBP vice president Domingo Egon Cayosa, besides Fajardo, should likewise be investigated, Topacio said.

He argued, “Much damage has been done to the IBP, as well as to the legal profession, in general, the officers responsible for this reprehensible event should be investigated and held accountable.”

Topacio said in his letter, “I am most respectfully requesting that the Honorable Supreme-Court which exercises supervision and control over the IBP…to look into this matter at the soonest possible time in order to preserve the trust and respect of the public in the IBP as the national organization of lawyers in the Philippine.”

The IBP on May 8 declined to give free legal assistance to Advincula after a thorough evaluation of his application. On May 23, Advincula resurfaced at the Philippine National Police headquarters to retract everything he had said against the Duterte administration, saying these were all “scripted.” –

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