MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said the man behind videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the drug trade worked with several police officials in 2016, when he also tagged past administration officials in narcotics.
In a Senate media forum, Lacson, a former national police chief, said he received information that 5 to 6 police officials used to handle Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who surfaced Monday and introduced himself as "Bikoy," the hooded figure in viral "Totoong Narco-list" videos.
Citing intelligence information, Lacson said the "small group" of active police officers handled Advincula in 2016 and that their main goal was to discredit former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and his former cabinet members, including former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, former Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima, and former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.
Lacson said he does not know if Advincula is still being handled by the same group.
"Kung sino nag-handle sa kaniya ngayon, kung the same people, hindi ko na alam but 'yung (Whoever is handling him now, if it's the same people, I don't know, but the) information that I gathered, he was working with some PNP personnel who were still active by that time," he said.
Lacson said he has their names, among them high-ranking officials, but declined to reveal them to the media.
"Ang isa lang nakikita kong motivation or motive ng police officers siguro they wanted to be under the good graces of the new administration at that time because kauupo lang ng Duterte administration," he said.
(One motivation or motive of the police officers that I see is that they wanted to be under the good graces of the new administration at the time because the Duterte administration just came to power.)
The PNP earlier said Advincula was an information peddler whose tips had led to some botched operations.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said Hutch Altavas, his chief political affairs aide, in December 2016 secured a sworn statement from Advincula who claimed that Aquino, Roxas and De Lima were "patrons" of the "Quadrangle" drug syndicate.
For Lacson, this seemed similar to allegations in the Bikoy videos, which alleged that drug money was funneled into bank accounts of Duterte's son former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his son-in-law Manases Carpio, and former aide Christopher Go.
"Napaka-obvious na rehash, pinalitan lang 'yung cast of characters saka 'yung circumstances saka 'yung inimbento parehong-pareho," Lacson said on the similarities between the accusations made then and now by Advincula.
(It was obviously a rehash, the cast of characters was just changed and the circumstances that were invented were so similar.)
Because of this, Lacson cancelled a Senate hearing set Friday supposedly to look into the allegations.
"Why deal with a person with that character?" Lacson said, adding that it is now up to the executive branch to find out who is behind Bikoy.
"But for the Senate to still intervene or exert effort to find out, hindi na namin trabaho 'yun (that's no longer our job)," said Lacson.
Malacañang earlier tagged the opposition Liberal Party and the Magdalo group, led by staunch critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, in an alleged plot to oust the President, including the release of the "Bikoy" videos.
Lacson said the probe would have been a "setup" to hold Advincula in contempt.
"For lack of a better word, setup talaga 'yun which did not happen," Lacson said on Thursday's Kapihan sa Senado forum.
If the hearing were to push through, he would have compared Advincula's statements to the sworn statement he had executed in 2016 against Aquino administration officials.
Advincula surfaced on Monday and introduced himself as Bikoy, the hooded figure in a series of videos who linked President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the narcotics trade.
He said he surfaced before the media due to a supposed threat on his life and denied links to the opposition.