DOJ charges webmaster of inciting to sedition over Bikoy videos

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday, May 6, that it will be charging webmaster Rodel Jayme of inciting to sedition over the spreading of videos damaging to the First Family.

The information was filed on Tuesday, May 7, before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.

Jayme has said before that he was just asked to create the website and did not have a hand in the uploading and spreading of videos of Bikoy, a series of viral videos that links President Rodrigo Duterte's family and those close to him to the illegal drug trade.

"By creating a website and subsequently posting videos that allege the involvement in the drug trade and the receipt of pay-offs of the President of the Philippines and members of his family, including the President's minor daughter, is not an exercise of his freedom of speech and expression, but a clear act to rouse among its viewers a sense of dissatisfaction against the duly constituted authorities," said the 13-page resolution of the panel of Anna Noreen Devanadera and Mary Grace Arboladura.

Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon approved the resolution on Monday.

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."

"It is a known fact that President Duterte has declared an all-out war against drugs, and a video containing these allegations cannot but be interpreted as a scheme to weaken the confidence of the people in the Government. These acts are against public peace and are criminal in nature as they tend to incite to a breach of the peace and are conducive to the destruction of the very government itself," the resolution said.

Warrantless arrest is valid

Jayme was arrested without a warrant on April 30 on the basis of a court-issued search warrant.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor JP Navera said the warrantless arrest of Rodel Jayme was valid because of the theory of "hot pursuit."

"Since at the time that the search warrant was implemented, the libelous videos and articles were still circulating online and excerpts of the videos were still being shown on television or heard over the radio, clearly, an offense is still being committed, and an arrest of respondent without a warrant is justified," said the resolution.

When asked whether this intepretation renders anyone suspected of committing a cybercrime vulnerable to a warrantless arrest, Navera said "that's speculative."

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) traced that Jayme owned the domain of Metrobalita.net, which was found to have significantly spread the Bikoy videos.

Jayme said he is willing to cooperate with the investigation, as NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said the 27-year-old high school graduate may be a potential state witness.

The NBI said there are "revealing chats" between Jayme and his client Maru Nguyen that would justify the filing of the inciting to sedition complaint.

Jayme said the "people behind" the creation of the website are supporters of the Liberal Party. Lavin said they will also track the identity of Magdalo members who could be involved.

A certain Peter Joemel Advincula identified himself as the real Bikoy on Monday in a short and hastily-called press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Advincula asked the IBP for legal assistance in filing cases against Paolo Duterte and Bong Go. – Rappler.com

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.

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