Robredo: Liberal Party has nothing to do with Bikoy

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Liberal Party denied any involvement in the preparation of Ang Totoong Narcolist videos accusing people close to President Rodrigo Duterte as involved in illegal drugs.

I can speak for the party na wala kaming kinalaman sa Bikoy issue. Natanong ko na si Senator Kiko Pangilinan…Wala siyang alam, 'di niya kilala,” party chair Vice President Robredo said in a press briefing at her office on Thursday, May 23.

(We have nothing to do with the Bikoy issue. I have asked Senator Kiko Pangilinan. He doesn’t know anything, he doesn’t know him.)

She added: “Waste of time ang pagpaplano against the administration (It’s a waste of time to plan against the administration).”

This comes after the man behind the videos, Peter Joemel Advincula, more popularly known as Bikoy, resurfaced on Thursday morning in a press briefing at the national police headquarters Camp Crame, saying that the videos were planned by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and members of the Liberal Party.

Advincula said he was promised P500,000 for the videos and his public appearance at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and even claimed of seeing Robredo herself in one of the clandestine meetings.

Robredo denied ever seeing Bikoy, saying that she has not seen “even his shadow” in person.

The vice president then stressed inconsistencies in the treatment of the Duterte administration on Advincula now that he is accusing opposition figures.

Ngayon na oposisyon naman ang inaakusahan niya, all of a sudden, credible siya (Now that the opposition are accused, all of a sudden, he is credible),” Robredo said.

During Advincula’s briefing, police chief General Oscar Albayalde denied that presenting the man called Bikoy was “political.” He said police are only treating Advincula as a surrenderee who requested for a press briefing.

Meanwhile, opposition senators also voiced incredulity in the latest twist in the Bikoy issue.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said: “The Liberal Party had nothing to do with the so-called Bikoy video. We deny the accusations. That the Liberal Party connived with an obviously professional con artist to topple the government is most absurd. It is ridiculous on so many levels. It’s excruciating to have listened to all his lies.

Still, Drilon added, the police should "get to the bottom of this Bikoy issue and file the appropriate charges.”

LP president Senator Kiko Pangilinan said: "Kahit ano sasabihin ng testigo kahit kasinungalingan laban sa LP sa takot na masaktan ng Administrasyon. Wala kaming ugnayan sa video at kay Bikoy. Kasinungalingan lahat ang mga paratang na yan. Gawa-gawa lang ng Administrasyon. Laging dinadamay ang LP sa mga ouster plot na gawa-gawa lang para pagtakpan ang mga palpak at kurakot sa Administrasyon."

(For fear of being punished by this Administration, a witness will say anything, even lies against LP. We had nothing to do with the video and with Bikoy. Those accusations are all lies. They were concocted by the Administration. They always pin the blame on LP for fictitious ouster plots to coverup the failures and rampant graft of this administration.

"Hanggang ngayon wala pa rin mga drug lords at sindikato na nahuhuli o nakakukulong sa pagpuslit ng toneladang shabu sa BoC. Yan ba ang pinagtatakpan nila? Pekeng drug war? Yang mga sindikato ng droga ang dapat nilang habulin, hindi mga kritiko at mga nasa oposisyon," he added.

(Up to this day, not a single drug lord and syndicate has been arrested or sent to jail for the tons of shabu which passed through the Bureau of Customs. Is that what they are covering up? A fake drug war. They should got after the drug syndicates, not the critics and the opposition.)          

Senator Risa Hontiveros said: "I find it odd that when 'Bikoy' came out with his videos accusing President Rodrigo Duterte, his family and close political friends of links to illegal drugs, this administration was quick to shoot down his credibility, even going so far as to threaten him with arrest. And now, when he sings a different song and accuses the opposition of outlandish things, all of a sudden his credibility is restored? How absurd."

She added: "This is fanciful and another attempt by this administration to distract the public. Just like the President's matrices, it is another product of Malacanang's wild imagination."

Meanwhile, Chel Diokno clarified that contrary to the claim of Advincula, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), which he chairs, was not Advincula's  legal counsel.

"Ang FLAG ay hindi abogado ni 'Bikoy.' Inilapit sa FLAG ang kaso, pero tumanggi ang FLAG, kaya ang naging sagot namin ay sa IBP na lang siya lumapit. Karaniwan namang ginagawa ito ng mga abogado 'pag tumanggi silang tanggapin ang isang kaso," Diokno, who ran under Otso Diretso in the May 13 elections, said in a statement.

(FLAG was not Bikoy's lawyer. His case was brought to FLAG but FLAG declined, so what we told him was to go to the IBP instead. This is common practice among lawyers if they decline a case.)

Also taking exception to the latest account of Advincula were the Philippine Jesuits who issued a statement in behalf of Fr Albert Alejo, whom they said is "a Jesuit priest of very good standing."

Fr Nono Alfonso, communication officer of the group, said Alejo has doctorate in anthropology from London and was former a teacher in Ateneo de Davao and Ateneo de Zamboanga. Presently he is at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Alejo was "also director of various social centers in which he championed the causes of women, labor, indigenous peoples and Muslim Filipinos." They said "Alejo’s name has been synonymous with scholarship, truth, justice, and love for the poor."

"It is therefore sad that he is now being painted in a bad light. It is also unfortunate that he is being dragged in the ongoing controversy. He would however speak, if needed, at the proper time and in the proper fora," said the Jesuits. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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