A spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said the filing of sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition figures will shed light on viral videos that linked Duterte's family to the drug trade.
Speaking on ANC, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo rejected claims that the administration is behind the filing of the charges to silence the opposition.
"We have nothing to do with this case. None at all. Absolutely nothing. Otherwise e di kami na ang nagdemanda diyan noon pa. Pinabayaan na lang namin. Sanay na si Presidente diyan, kaya nga ayaw na niya maging presidente anak niya," he said.
On the other hand, he said the filing of the charges could be a way to uncover the truth about the "Totoong Narcolist" videos.
"My attitude there is it's about time to know the truth about this video. Hayaan natin kung ano ang kalalabasan," he said.
A series of YouTube clips titled "Totoong Narco-list" before the 2019 elections claimed drug money was funneled into the bank accounts of Duterte's son former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his son-in-law Atty. Manases Carpio, and former aide Christopher Go.
"Bikoy," a hooded figure in the videos, claimed that he used to keep financial records for the drug syndicate that allegedly had dealings with the Duterte family.
On May 6, Peter Joemel Advincula surfaced at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines headquarters and claimed he was "Bikoy." He claimed he was not paid by the opposition Otso Diretso slate, only to flip-flop weeks later and link the Liberal Party and other figures to the viral videos.
Asked if Advincula can be considered credible considering his own admission that he accepted money to make the videos, he said: "Mahirap magsalita unless na ako ang imbestigador."
He said it is up to Advincula to prove his claims with records. "He can show his text messages directed to whomever. Or there is a witness that will testify as to the circumstances that he is relating in his sworn statement. Pag na support 'yun, na-buttress, ah may problema 'yung dinemanda mo. Pero kung wala, madi-dismiss lang 'yun."
The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Thursday filed charges of sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Robredo, opposition senators Leila De Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and their former colleague, Antonio Trillanes IV.
The complaint was based on a sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who introduced himself as hooded figure "Bikoy" in the videos that made rounds on social media at the height of the May electoral campaign.
Also charged were Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former Sen. Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal and House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, who ran for the Senate under opposition slate Otso Diretso in the May elections but lost.
The same charges were also filed against vocal critics of the Duterte administration including Archbishops Socrates Villegas and Pablo Virgilio David, Bishops Honesto Ongtioco and Teodoro Bacani Jr., and priests Albert Alejo and Robert Reyes.
Former Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro and former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te and several officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) were also cited in the complaint.
The DOJ said Advincula, in his statement, detailed "supposed meetings with the aforenamed personalities and how they planned what he referred to as 'Project Sodoma.'"
In the interview, Panelo also denied that the government tapped
losing senatorial candidate Larry Gadon to file the case against the opposition. Gadon filed the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno last year.
Sereno would later be removed from her post via a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
"Larry Gadon has nothing to do with us. Larry Gadon is a lawyer who takes clients. If he supported the President when he ran for the presidency, you cannot take that away from him," Panelo said.