OSG: PNP-CIDG is our client, not 'Bikoy'
MANILA (UPDATE) - The lawyer of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy denied Wednesday that the involvement of the Office of the Solicitor General in the filing of a sedition complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition figures is a form of oppression of the opposition.
"The acts of OSG in giving advise should not be translated right away into oppression of opposition. Otherwise the OSG will be stifled. This will result [in] paralysis of their function," lawyer Larry Gadon said in a statement.
"This is a gross misconception of the functions of the OSG."
ABS-CBN News earlier found that 2 employees of the OSG had a hand in drafting the affidavit of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy, which was the basis for the sedition and inciting to sedition complaints filed by the PNP-CIDG.
The OSG, in a statement, said it has a legal duty to serve the state and its agencies when they seek legal advice.
"It is also the duty of the OSG to abide by the client-lawyer confidentiality imposed by law. Hence, as lawyers, we cannot divulge details or information about the specifics of this case," it said.
"The PNP-CIDG is our client, not Bikoy. Bikoy has his own private lawyer."
Advincula had claimed he is the hooded figure "Bikoy" in the "Totoong Narcolist" series of viral videos that linked President Duterte's family and allies to the narcotics trade.
Advincula said he was paid to appear in the videos, allegedly masterminded by opposition members who wanted to remove the President from power. The opposition has denied Advincula's allegations.
Gadon said OSG officials were not present when Advincula's statements were being taken.
"I had no knowledge of any participation of OSG which was probably consulted by the CIDG after the statements were taken," he said.
"It is perfectly normal for any government office to seek the advice [of] the OSG for correction of any legal matter in line with their work. There is nothing wrong nor sinister with that since the OSG is the lawyer of the government."
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meantime, said what is important is if the police's evidence will support its allegations, "regardless of who drafted the complaint-affidavit."
"That's why I want the special panel of state prosecutors to commence the preliminary investigation immediately," he said.
Human Rights Watch, in a statement, urged government to drop the charges, which it said was a "transparent attempt to harass and silence" critics of the administration's drug war.
“The sedition complaint looks like little more than a kneejerk reaction to the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on the Philippines,” HRW Asia director Brad Adams said.
“Friends of the Philippines should not stay silent when the administration retaliates against those promoting respect for human rights in the country.”
--With reports from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News