MANILA – The camp of Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who identified himself as "Bikoy" in viral videos that tagged President Rodrigo Duterte's family in the drug trade, released Friday a copy of his affidavit claiming Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other opposition figures plotted to overthrow the President.
The plan, according to Advincula, was to install Robredo as president and Trillanes as vice president before June 30, 2019 by spreading false news against Duterte, in what was allegedly dubbed as "Project Sodoma," based on his affidavit released through his lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Advincula’s affidavit was the basis for the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in filing a sedition and inciting to sedition complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday against Robredo, Trillanes and more than 30 other personalities.
Among others charged were senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senator Bam Aquino and other senatorial candidates of opposition coalition Otso Diretso, several human rights lawyers, and priests and bishops critical of the President.
Also filed against them were charges of libel, cyberlibel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice.
Opposition figures have several times denied the claims.
In his affidavit, Advincula claimed Project Sodoma was hatched late last year in a bid to topple the President and create noise to prop up the campaign of Otso Diretso senatorial candidates.
"Sa pamamagitan ng pag-uudyok sa mga tao na mag-aklas laban kay Pangulong Duterte. Magagawa namin ito sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalabas ng mga 'fake news' at gawa-gawang kuwento patungkol kay Pangulong Duterte, at sa kaniyang pamilya at administrasyon. Nilalayon namin na mawalan ng tiwala ang mga mamamayan sa kaniya at tuluyang mapatalsik siya sa puwesto," he said in his affidavit.
(Through urging the people to rise up against President Duterte. We can do this by spreading fake news and fabricated stories about President Duterte, his family and administration. Our goal was for the public to lose trust in him that would lead to his ouster.)
He further claimed, it was Trillanes' way of getting back at Duterte and installing Robredo as president. Robredo was to choose Trillanes as her vice president.
The term "Project Sodoma," he said, was coined by Jesuit priest and staunch anti-extrajudicial killings advocate Fr. Albert Alejo, who had previously helped Davao Death Squad whistleblowers Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas.
He claimed it was Alejo who gave him the alias "Bikoy," and that it was also the priest who introduced him to Trillanes and his chief of security named "Jerome/Jonell."
Advincula recalled meeting Trillanes inside the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) compound in Quezon City 3 times:
- First on Aug. 29, 2018 to ask for documents Advincula supposedly obtained when he was jailed inside the New Bilibid Prison pertaining to detained De Lima and former President Benigno Aquino III’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade;
- Second, on Oct. 11, 2018 to give him allegedly revised documents implicating the President and his former aide, then senatorial candidate Bong Go, in the illegal drug trade; and
- Third, on Feb. 22, 2019 where the former senator supposedly promised to pay him P500,000 in exchange for his participation in Project Sodoma.
Advincula said he never received any payment although he claimed receiving from Alejo amounts ranging from P25,000 to P35,000 a month from August 2018 to April 2019.
It was not clear from his affidavit if the amounts Alejo allegedly personally handed to him were in relation to Project Sodoma or with his work as research assistant for the priest.
Advincula also claimed he met with Hontiveros twice and once with Robredo and Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Chel Diokno, Gary Alejano, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Samira Gutoc, Erin Tañada and Bam Aquino all within the ADMU compound in Quezon City.
ADMU had earlier denied meetings to oust the President ever took place inside its campus. Robredo herself denied having met Advincula.
But, citing alleged meetings with Trillanes, Alejo and other opposition figures, Advincula said Project Sodoma consisted of 3 parts:
• A March 11 press conference where priests Alejo, Flavie Villanueva and Robert Reyes accused the Duterte administration of sending them threatening text messages
• The release on March 25 of a statement from former anti-drug police officer Eduardo Acierto linking then-senatorial candidate Bong Go to former Malacañang adviser Michael Yang (Young in Advincula’s affidavit) who is allegedly a member of a large drug syndicate
• The release of the six-part "Ang Totoong Narcolist" video series on various dates in April which tagged Duterte, his family members, and Go in a drug syndicate.
Acierto had been charged for his involvement in two incidents of smuggling billions worth of illegal drugs hidden inside magnetic lifters, while President Duterte himself cleared Yang of any involvement in illegal drugs.
Advincula claimed the narcolist videos were shot in the Jesuits Communications office on March 29, 2019 and were uploaded on various dates in April in a dorm room rented by Alejo, both within ADMU in Quezon City.
INVOLVEMENT OF OTHER PERSONALITIES
Advincula classified the personalities he named in the complaint into three, based on their involvement in the alleged plot:
• A "technical group" in charge of brainstorming and planning strategies composed of Trillanes, his chief security officer alias Jonell/Jerome, advertising executive Yolly Villanueva Ong, Fr. Villanueva, Alejo, Bro. Armin Luistro, Boom Enriquez, Vicente Romano III, Dan Songco and Advincula himself;
• A "shadow group" for financial, logistical, security and accommodations support composed of Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Onesto Ongchoco (Honesto Ongtioco), Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Fr. Reyes, Acierto, Hontiveros, Robredo, De Lima through a lawyer, and Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Diokno, Alejano, Hilbay, Macalintal, Gutoc, Aquino, and Tañada;
• A "production team" to shoot, edit and upload the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, composed of JM Saracho as narrator, Enriquez as videographer/editor, an assistant named Monique, Ong and Romano as scriptwriters, and Alejo who supposedly prepared the Jesuit Communications office
Advincula said at one point, he stayed at a condominium unit that belongs to a Liberal Party supporter and his wife.
He also mentioned meeting former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te and a certain lawyer named Chito on May 2, days before he surfaced at a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office in Ortigas, although he did not mention if they were also part of the plot.
Te was named as one of the respondents in the complaint.
Advincula also did not specify in his affidavit what former IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, current IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa and IBP legal aid director Minerva Ambrosio did that led to their inclusion as respondents in the complaint.
The only link to detained De Lima, meanwhile, is the alleged attendance of her chief of staff, lawyer Phillip Sawali, in a meeting.
Advincula mentioned news website Rappler’s Chay Hofileña as having attended a meeting and conducted an interview but her name was not included in the list of respondents.
HOW IT ENDED
In his affidavit, Advincula said the Otso Diretso senatorial slate’s crushing defeat in the May 2019 polls led to lesser access to Trillanes and fewer security personnel guarding the condo unit where he was staying.
He also allegedly received a message from Ong that Trillanes wants him to surrender while Alejo supposedly told him of the group’s plan to move him to a secluded place.
Out of fear, he said he reached out to his brother Joseph, who fetched him along with several police officers on May 22, 2019.
He showed up at a press conference in Camp Crame the next day recanting his earlier statements.
In support of his allegations, Advincula said he has text messages and conversations with the group in various applications, keys to places where he stayed, and other documents as proof.
Several personalities had earlier expressed doubts over Advincula's credibility.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also bared that in December 2016, Advincula had allegedly tried to peddle a story linking then President Aquino, then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and then Justice Secretary De Lima in the drug trade but later changed his statement.