TIMELINE: The 'Bikoy' controversy
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The release of a series of videos tagging key members of President Rodrigo Duterte's circle as alleged members of drug syndicates made the month leading to the 2019 elections a roller-coaster ride more than ever.
This controversy led to several events, including a warrantless arrest, a charge of inciting to sedition, and a man going public despite alleged threats to his life.
Here is a timeline to keep track of events and updates on the controversy involving what has been termed as the "Bikoy videos' that featured whistle-blower Peter Joemel Advincula. This will be updated as needed.
A series of videos are uploaded online which allege that members of President Rodrigo Duterte's family and his allies are involved in the illegal drug trade. The first of 5 videos is released April 2 while the last go online by April 22.
APRIL 17, 2019
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra orders the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the videos – not what they contain but who the people behind them were.
APRIL 29, 2019
The NBI Cybercrime Division secures a search warrant for the residence of a certain Rodel Jayme. The warrant is issued by Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 headed by Judge Andres Soriano.
APRIL 30, 2019
The NBI serves the search warrant aiming to seize computers and data that can help in their investigation into the background of "Bikoy."
Guevarra says Jayme voluntarily went with NBI agents to their headquarters and was arrested there. (READ: Legal questions on the arrest of ‘Bikoy’ video sharer)
MAY 2, 2019
The NBI files an inciting to sedition complaint against Jayme.
The bureau accuses him 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."
Contrary to previous statements by Guevarra, the NBI clarifies that 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.”
Guevarra clarifies Jayme owned the domain metrobalita.net which was found to have significantly spread the videos online.
MAY 3, 2019
NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin says it is “very possible” for Jayme to become a state witness.
Jayme also says he is willing to cooperate, adding that the "people behind" the creation of the website are supporters of the Liberal Party.
MAY 6, 2019
The DOJ announces it will be charging Jayme with inciting to sedition over the spread of videos deemed damaging to the Duterte family. The resolution is approved by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon. (READ: Looking at 'inciting to sedition' in the time of Duterte)
The resolution states that "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."
On the same day, the man formerly only known as "Bikoy" surfaces and identifies himself as Peter Joemel Advincula. (READ: Alias 'Bikoy': From seminarian to ex-con to whistle-blower)
Before the media at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Advincula reiterates his claims that presidential son Paolo Duterte and senatorial candidate Christopher “Bong” Go, among others, are part of a drug syndicate operating in Misibis Bay in Albay.
Advincula says he wants to sue Duterte and Go. He is now asking legal assistance from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and that he is prepared to testify should the Senate start an investigation.
MAY 7, 2019
DOJ files information related to the Jayme complaint before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.
Misibis Bay management issue a statement denying the allegations of Advincula and threaten to file cyber libel charges against him.
MAY 8, 2019
The IBP declines Advincula's request for legal aid to sue the younger Duterte and Go. IBP national president Abdiel Fajardo says the decision "was reached after a thorough evaluation of his application was conducted by the National Center for Legal Aid."
Senate President Tito Sotto, in a press conference, says Advincula's claims are not credible as he previously approached his office in 2016 with information linking former president Benigno Aquino III and other officials to drug syndicates.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayaleda says Advincula is nothing more than an "information peddler."
Senator Panfilo Lacson cancels the planned Senate hearing on the claims of Advincula, saying “enough of this nonsense.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra issues an ultimatum to Advincula, saying he will be charged with inciting to sedition if he does not go to the NBI to present evidence to back up his claims.
MAY 23, 2019
Advincula surrenders to police, saying everything in the Bikoy videos and his previous statements were “fake.” He claims he played a role in a “script,” which he says was created by the Liberal Party to oust Duterte and install Vice President Leni Robredo as new president. He also tags Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as the main person behind this supposed script.
Albayalde says that perhaps Advincula felt pressure from the manhunt operations against him. Advincula says he wanted to clean his name and “start a new life.” – Rappler.com