MANILA (UPDATE) - "Bikoy", a man who linked President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the narcotics trade, made the same accusations in 2016 against officials of the then outgoing Aquino administration, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.
In a series of recent viral videos, a hooded figure named Bikoy claimed that he kept drug records for a drug ring that supposedly gave payoffs to the Duterte family.
A certain Peter Joemel Advincula on Monday claimed he was Bikoy and requested legal aid from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which it denied earlier Wednesday.
Sotto said his aide in December 2016 secured a sworn statement from Advincula who claimed that then President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima were "patrons" of the "Quadrangle" drug syndicate.
Advincula claimed syndicate members used alphanumeric "identity codes" for monthly payoffs amounting to 30 million yuan (P230 million), which was supposedly coursed through a local bank, said Sotto.
The bank in Makati, however, denied that the codes for its accounts follow the same format as that given by Advincula, said the Senate President.
"Ni hindi daw ganyan ang numbering at lettering nila ng mga bank account nila kaya imposible daw iyun," Sotto said.
(They said that not even the numbering and lettering used in their bank accounts so his claims are impossible.)
The lawmaker said Advincula later changed his statement, saying the drug money was deposited at another bank.
"I did due diligence kaya noong 2016, hindi ko pinatulan ito. Medyo iniba niya lang nang kaunti ang script, iniba niya lang ang personalidad, ito naman ngayon," said Sotto.
(I did due diligence in 2016 so I didn't believe this. He just changed the script a bit, changed the personalities involved, and here it is again.)
Advincula was serving a prison sentence when he made the claim against the Aquino administration, said Lacson.
In 2012, Advincula said he was sued for estafa and given a 6-year jail sentence in connection with documents he signed in his work with VitaPlus. He said he was freed in 2016 for good behavior.
Bikoy, in the "Totoong Narco-list" videos, claimed drug payoffs were deposited to the supposed bank accounts of the President's son former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his son-in-law Atty. Manases Carpio, and former aide Christopher Go.
The younger Duterte and Go, who is running for senator, allegedly had dragon tattoos allegedly bearing an alphanumeric code used for drug transactions.
Following Advincula's surfacing, Go bared his back to the media anew to show that he has no tattoos. Paolo, meanwhile, challenged Advincula to file charges.
Advincula's allegations against Go and Duterte's family "may have something to do with the 2019 elections," surmised Sotto.
"Kung sino man ang mga taong nasa likod niya... baka mayroon silang mga ibang kandidatong kursanada at ayaw nila iyung kandidato ng administrasyon," he said.
(Whoever may be behind him perhaps support a different candidate and they do not like the administration's candidates.)
The Senate President said he has given all documents concerning Advincula to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who was supposed to lead a legislative inquiry into the issue on Friday.
Lacson, however, has canceled the Senate investigation following Sotto's revelation.