Topacio asks SC to investigate Bikoy's IBP press conference

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2019 01:03 PM

MANILA -- Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio on Monday urged the Supreme Court to look into Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy's press conference at the office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines earlier this month, claiming it has done "much damage" to the lawyers' organization.

In a sworn 3-page letter which Topacio himself filed at the office of Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, Topacio asked the high tribunal to use its power of supervision and control over the IBP to investigate what he called a "highly improper" accommodation of Advincula.

He accused IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo and incoming national president and current vice president Domingo Egon Cayosa of being behind the accommodation, violating IBP's own rules.

"Supposedly, the objectives and purposes of the Integrated Bar, as stated in Article I, sec. 2 of its By-Laws, are to elevate the standards of the legal profession; improve the administration of justice and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively," read the letter.

"Advincula's press conference, however, was obviously not in accordance with the said objectives and purposes," it added.

On May 6, Advincula showed up at the IBP office in Ortigas to seek legal assistance. He identified himself to be "Bikoy," the hooded figure in a viral video which tagged family members of President Rodrigo Duterte in the illegal drug trade.

Among those he named were Duterte's son, former Davao City Vice Mayor, now Davao Rep.-elect Paolo Duterte, senator-elect Christopher "Bong" Go, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's husband Manases Carpio and the Bicol-based "Quadrangle Group."

They have since denied involvement in the drug trade.

The IBP eventually declined to represent Advincula, but not before the Office of the Solicitor General and IBP Davao City Chapter criticized the IBP national leadership for "politicizing" the organization.

Topacio noted that during the presscon, the IBP logo can be seen in the background "creating the impression that the entire IBP is advocating Advincula's assertions, which, in reality, cannot be actually said for all its members."

IBP national officers denied knowledge about the press conference but Topacio is not buying the excuse.

"This disclaimer, however, is difficult to believe since the function room where the press conference was held appears to have been set up in advance considering the presence of numerous media, a sound system and tables and chairs," he said in the letter.

"Furthermore, Advincula was even accompanied by the IBP National Director for Legal Aid, Atty. Minerva Ambrosio, as well as some Catholic nuns," he added.

In an interview with the media before filing his letter, Topacio said he does not want the IBP to be used by individuals who are not members of the group. 

"Ako po, bilang isang miyembro ng IBP ay hindi ko po pahihintulutang magamit ang IBP sa kahit anong pulitika o paninira sa kahit sinong tao, sapagkat ang IBP po, yung IBP building, yun po ay dapat exclusive use lamang po ng mga miyembro ng IBP at mga adhikain tungkol sa batas, hindi po sa mga tsismis o mga walang basehang paninira o propaganda o kung anu-ano pa," he said, faulting IBP for not vetting Advincula's claims. 

Advincula recently surfaced at Camp Crame to accuse the Liberal Party and Sen. Antonio Trillanes of being behind the Bikoy video.

The PNP said it is investigating Advincula's new statements.

But Topacio sees nothing wrong with Advincula's presscon in Crame.

"'Yung sa PNP naman, iba yun. Si Bikoy ay sumuko at siya ay tinanggap ng PNP at inaresto siya pagkatapos e. The PNP is just doing its job," he said.