Leni, bishops cleared of sedition charges over alleged plot to oust Duterte


Posted at Feb 10 2020 05:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2020 07:02 PM

Leni, bishops cleared of sedition charges over alleged plot to oust Duterte 1
Vice President Leni Robredo. File

MANILA- The Department of Justice has cleared Vice President Leni Robredo and 4 bishops of sedition charges over an alleged plot to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

Cleared of the charges along with Robredo are Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishops Pablo Virgilio David, Honesto Ongtioco, and Teodoro Bacani, along with Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, former Sen. Bam Aquino, and other opposition figures.

Robredo's camp hailed the development, saying the development "is a definitive condemnation of the fabricated accusations and trumped-up charges" brought against her.

"We hope that this decisive conclusion by the panel, which it discusses thoroughly in its 51-page resolution, puts an end to this campaign of lies against the Vice President," her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.

The Department of Justice, however, indicted former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Peter Advincula, also known as "Bikoy," and 8 others for supposed libelous allegations linking President Duterte and his family to the illegal drug trade.

Accused along with Trillanes and Advincula are Joel Saracho, Boom Enriquez, Yolanda Ong, Vicente Romano III, Fr. Albert Alejo, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Jonnel Sangalang, Ediardo Acierto, and an alias Monique.

DOJ Usec. Markk Perete said the panel found that there were "interlocking pieces of proof" that "provide a complete picture of the grand conspiracy between and among some respondents to create hatred or revenge against the President and his family with the end view of toppling and destabilizing the current administration." 

"Bikoy" previously claimed that he used to keep financial records for the drug syndicate that allegedly had dealings with the Duterte family.

He initially claimed that he was not paid by the opposition, only to flip-flop weeks later and later linked the Liberal Party and other figures to the viral videos.

Trillanes has repeatedly denied Bikoy's claims, saying that while it was true that he met Advincula around August 2018, the supposed whistleblower's character "did not check out."