MANILA – The man tagged as the one who shared the now viral videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte's family to narcotics has pleaded not guilty to the inciting to sedition charge against him, according to a source from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Rodel Jayme appeared before the sala of Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 258 Judge Noemi Balitaan Tuesday morning for his arraignment. He was assisted by a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office.
The source privy to Tuesday's proceedings said the court has also issued a commitment order transferring Jayme from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, which arrested him on April 30, to the Parañaque City Jail.
The DOJ indicted Jayme earlier this month for inciting to sedition under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Jayme is the owner of website MetroBalita.net, allegedly one of the websites which spread the controversial “Ang Totoong Narco-list” videos.
The videos feature a hooded “Bikoy,” a self-confessed former member of a drug syndicate, who accused Duterte’s son, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his son-in-law Manases Carpio and former aide Christopher Go of owning bank accounts where alleged drug money went.
One Peter Joemel Advincula surfaced a few days after Jayme’s arrest at a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and identified himself as Bikoy. He has since been in hiding.
Police have uncovered multiple criminal charges pending against Advincula, while Senate President Vicente Sotto III himself said Advincula once approached him in 2016 to try to link the Aquino administration to illegal drugs. He has denied this.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has warned they would file an inciting to sedition charge against Advincula if he is unable to substantiate his accusations.
The administration had earlier linked the "Bikoy" videos to an alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte, tagging the opposition Liberal Party.