MANILA - (UPDATED) Former "whistleblower" Peter Joemel "Bikoy" Advincula was held on Friday morning in connection with the killing of three people in Daraga, Albay.
Police said Donsol Councilor Helen Advincula Garay, 53, and businessmen Karren Dela Rosa Averilla, 44, and Xavier Alim Mirasol, 61, were found dead inside an ukay-ukay shop allegedly owned by Advincula in Barangay Busay, Daraga.
"Allegedly, there was an invitation made by Bikoy to the aspiring vice mayor of Donsol, Sorsogon na si Helen Garay. So itong invitation ni Bikoy to Helen Garay meron daw a certain meeting na gaganapin ng isang kandidato dito sa area ng Daraga," Lt. Col. Bogard Arao, chief of the Daraga Municipal Police Station said.
(The invitation to Helen Garay was about a meeting with a certain candidate in an area in Daraga.)
Garay, he said, decided to invite three others, including the two other candidates, to the meeting.
Averilla and Mirasol are both running for councilor of Donsol in next year's elections.
The third person, Lalaine Herrera Amor, luckily escaped from harm's way.
Initial police investigation revealed that Amor, accompanied by her husband, went to their station around 11 p.m. to report that her 3 companions were missing.
Based on her statement, Advincula fetched her and the three other victims one by one in a blue Toyota Vios with plate number ABQ 6285 supposedly to bring them to the meeting.
Amor got suspicious because it was already late in the evening when she was fetched. She refused to enter the building.
"Maraming rason daw itong suspek na medyo strikto daw 'yung security ng meeting kaya ikot ikot muna sila. And then sa pagpupumiglas nitong survivor nakahingi ng tulong sa may katabing tindahan. 'Yun 'yung panahon na tinawagan niya yung asawa niya sinundo siya sa tindahan," said Arao.
(The suspect gave several reasons such as the security for the meeting was tight. She refused to go and ran to a nearby store. That was the time she was able to call her husband who fetched her from the store.)
The store owner recounted the incident.
"Sabi niya nanay 'wag niyo akong ibigay, 'wag ninyo akong iwanan, 'wag kayong magsara. 'Yung lalaki dito lang, pinipilit siyang pumunta doon. Ayaw niyang sumama hangga't di daw niya nakikita mga kasama niya," the owner said.
(She said don't let him take me, don't leave me, don't close yet. The man was just here trying to convince her to go there. She refused to go not until she sees her companion.)
The store owner said she did not know what was going on until the woman returned Friday morning to thank her for saving her that night.
"Sabi niya Nanay, mga kasama ko patay na, nasa loob. Salamat aniya at niligtas niyo ako," the store owner added.
(She said her companions that night were all killed. She thanked me for saving her.)
Amor was able to call her husband who fetched her right away that night and they immediately reported the incident to police.
Police immediately responded by releasing a flash alarm on the car used by Advincula.
But just about an hour after she gave her statement to the police, Advincula personally went to the station allegedly to report the dead bodies he found inside his ukay-ukay store. He did not know that Amor had already reported him to the police.
Police said Advincula is now under custody.
Authorities are still investigating if the incident is related to politics or business.
Advincula, who claimed to be "Bikoy," hogged the headlines in 2019 as the hooded figure that linked President Rodrigo Duterte’s family to the narcotics trade in several viral videos only to turn around after surrendering to police.
In July, a Manila court ordered his arrest due to his absence during his scheduled arraignment in the perjury case filed by 3 lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).
Lawyers 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.
- Report from Karren Canon