NBI files inciting to sedition complaint vs 'Bikoy' video sharer

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday, May 2, filed an inciting to sedition complaint against a man who had allegedly spread the so-called "Bikoy" videos online.

The NBI filed the complaint against Rodel Jayme before the Department of Justice following his arrest.

The NBI complaint accused Jayme of committing "Article 142 Inciting to Sedition under the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012." 

"The law did not require a person to be involved in seditious acts. As long as the elements are met, one can be charged to be in violaton of Article 142," said the NBI. 

The NBI also said Jayme "did not just share" the videos, but participated "in a concerted effort (not merely a statement of opinion) directed to a more complicated result."

Inciting to sedition is defined under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code as:

"...any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Republic of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite 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."

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said earlier on Thursday that aside from an inciting to sedition complaint, Jayme may also face a child abuse complaint "for involving a minor," referring to President Rodrigo Duterte's 15-year-old daughter Kitty, who was mentioned in the videos.

NBI operatives implemented a search warrant on Jayme on Tuesday, April 30, to seize computers and other data related to their investigation into "Bikoy," a man who appeared in a series of online videos that linked Duterte's family and those close to him to the illegal drug trade.

Guevarra clarified that they had not established if Jayme was the original uploader of the video, but that he owned the domain metrobalita.net which was found to have significantly spread the "Bikoy" videos online.

Guevarra said Jayme voluntarily went with the NBI to their headquarters after the Tuesday search, after which operatives arrested him. It was an arrest incidental to a search, said Guevarra, when asked for the basis of the warrantless arrest.

Jayme will be brought for inquest before Thursday ends, Guevarra said. The inquest prosecutor will rule whether the arrest was valid, and if Jayme could be released. The Revised Penal Code provides the following prescribed periods of time to bring to inquest a person arrested without warrant:

"From our point of view, he must have known that those videos were produced and they were just a tool in propagating those videos," said Vic Lorenzo, the NBI's Cybercrime Division chief.

Sharing the video

The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the part of the Cybercrime Prevention Act that punishes "aiding and abetting" in a case of cyber libel, which in this context can be taken to mean as a person who shares supposedly libelous content.

"We have already elevated this matter to our legal division for their evaluation," Lorenzo said.

Will other people who share the "Bikoy" videos be subject to the same charges?

Guevarra said: "For now we're focusing on his guy. We're not done with this guy yet, and it may turn out after further investigation that some other people, some special people who propagated the video in a very vigorous manner, may have to be investigated for it likewise."

The Malacañang-backed "matrix" on a supposed ouster plot links the "Bikoy" videos to media groups like Rappler, Vera Files, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and human rights group National Union of Peoples' Lawyers. The implicated groups have dismissed the so-called matrix as false and rubbish.

Asked if Jayme's arrest was connected to the "matrix," Guevarra said: "I cannot answer that question, at this time. It may or it may not have something to do with that alleged ouster plot. But I am not confirming that."

"As the NBI said, it's still for further investigation, so this is just the first of our press conferences on the matter. If we have something, a lot more significant than what has been done will arise, then we will call for another press conference," the justice secretary added.

On Twitter, a user named Rodel Jayme identifies himself as a "Blogger, Gamer, License Amateur Radio Operator." His Twitter page links to a blog, where the first visible post is an entry supportive of former president Benigno Aquino III.

Asked for a profile on Jayme, including political affiliations, Guevarra said reporters could do the research themselves. NBI officials who were with Guevarra in the press conference said political affiliations were not covered by their investigation.

Guevarra also said "Malacañang has nothing to do" with the arrest of Jayme, or the "Bikoy" investigation. – 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.