'Bikoy' faces arrest after no-show at arraignment in perjury charge

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2021 10:42 AM

MANILA — A Manila court has ordered the arrest of Peter Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula due to his absence during his scheduled arraignment Wednesday morning in the perjury case filed by 3 lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

“In view of the failure of the accused to appear in today’s hearing despite notice and upon motions of both the private prosecutor and public prosecutor, let the cash bail posted by accused Peter Joemel Advincula be forfeited and confiscated in favor of the government,” Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Karla Funtilan-Abugan said in a 1-page order dated Wednesday. 

“Issue a warrant of arrest against him with bail set at double the amount of the previous bail posted by the accused,” she added.

Former senatorial candidates Chel Diokno and Erin Tañada, along with former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te, filed the perjury case against Advincula for allegedly falsely linking them to “Project Sodoma,” the supposed plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte through a series of online viral videos dubbed “Ang Totoong Narco-list” which surfaced a few weeks before the May 2019 polls.

Bikoy, the hooded figure who linked President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the narcotics trade in several viral videos only to turn around after surrendering the police, had tagged Diokno and Tañada in the supposed shadow group providing financial, logistical, security and accommodations support in the plot. 

He also claimed meeting with Te at one point while he alleged meeting with Diokno and Tañada at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Diokno, Te and Tañada have all denied involvement, saying Bikoy had only sought a meeting with Te for possible representation by FLAG. 

Diokno and Tañada also denied meeting with Bikoy at the Ateneo de Manila University when they attended a forum for senatorial candidates in March 2019.

The three filed the perjury case accusing Bikoy of “willful and deliberate” lies in implicating them in the sedition raps.

At the time the perjury complaint was filed, Bikoy, in his defense said the case was premature as the DOJ investigating panel was still probing the sedition raps.

The DOJ investigating panel eventually absolved the three from any involvement in the sedition raps. 

Another panel found probable cause to charge Bikoy with perjury.

The same Manila court, through a pairing judge, ordered Bikoy’s arrest in January this year.

During the hearing Wednesday, only Diokno, Te and Tañada were present, along with their lawyer, Gregorio Tanaka Viterbo, Jr.

In view of Bikoy’s absence, the arraignment is reset to August 26, 2021 at 8:30am.

Bikoy was represented by lawyer Doroteo Miguel Carillo, who said in open court he belongs to the law firm of lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, according to Tañada.

Judge Funtila-Abugan also disclosed during the hearing that her husband, Assistant State Prosecutor Herbert Calvin Abugan, is the investigating prosecutor in the estafa complaint against Bikoy pending before the DOJ.

He is accused of duping organizers of a beauty pageant in Polangui, Albay in 2018.

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