The Davao chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines lashed out Tuesday at the group’s national leadership for allowing its main office in Pasig City to be used as a staging area for the person who created the “Bikoy” videos linking members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s family to the illegal drug trade.
In a statement, the IBP-Davao City Chapter said the decision of the IBP national leadership on the issue is not in accord with the fundamental purpose of the organization.
“Just recently, the IBP [hogged] the headlines…when it allowed itself to be used as the staging area for Bikoy’s show,” IBP Davao said. “Certainly, the drama reeks of political agenda.”
“The IBP Davao City Chapter is neither privy to Bikoy’s show nor supportive of the same. It does not reflect the sentiment of the membership of the Chapter as an organization,” it said.
It said that while it respects the decision of its national leadership in representing its members on some national issues, the case of Bikoy “does not deserve the Chapter’s support since the IBP is a non-partisan organization not established to cater to political interest.”
On Monday, a man who identified himself as Peter Joemel Advincula surfaced at the IBP offices and said he was the Bikoy in the online videos that linked members of President Duterte’s family, including former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, former Presidential Assistant Christopher “Bong” Go, and Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to the narcotics trade.
He asked the IBP for legal assistance, saying he would file cases against the people he mentioned.
IBP National president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo earlier said Advincula appeared at their office just like any other client seeking legal advice for their cases, adding that he was accompanied by several nuns.
Fajardo said the IBP has yet to determine whether to accept Advincula as a client since they still have to evaluate both his motives and the merits of his case.
Fajardo said his case will be handled by the National Center for Legal Aid, the national office of the IBP which is designated to handle legal aid cases.
He said the NCLA is an autonomous body from the IBP whose evaluation of cases are not reviewed by the IBP board of governors.
Fajardo said Advincula’s case will not be treated any differently from others seeking their legal assistance.
The Palace, meanwhile, said it was convinced that the man claiming to be “Bikoy” was just a pawn of a still unidentified puppet master.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Advincula, who claims to be Bikoy in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, sought the legal assistance of the IBP in Pasig City on Monday, claiming there are threats against his life.
“Information about the criminal background of Advincula is starting to come out. It appears that he has been incarcerated in 2012 for conviction of illegal recruitment and large scale estafa, as well as for theft,” Panelo said in a statement.
He also said there were reports that Advincula is facing multiple criminal cases.
Panelo said Advincula’s allegations were outright “incredible and absurd” as those personalities and establishments that he tagged had already denied any drug links.
On Monday, Go showed off his untattooed back to the public to refulte allegations that he was involved in the illegal drug trade.
Meanwhile, the Rural Bank of Guinobatan Inc. and the Misibis Bay Resort also denied allegations from Advincula.
“Bikoy’s pretended fear for his life is part of the fraudulent act,”Panelo said. here are strong indications that Advincula is not alone but is just being used by a personality in conspiracy with others bent on destroying the reputation of the Duterte family and tarnishing the image of the President,” Panelo said. “Soon the pretenders and black propagandists will be unmasked.”
The Palace official warned some officers of the IBP that they may have been fooled by Advincula.
“Certain officers of the IBP may have unwittingly allowed their facilities to be used by a fraudster to perpetuate lies and foist accusations against [the President], his children and those closely identified with him,” he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which he chaired, may conduct an investigation into Advincula’s claims.
“The committee is sending out today a formal invitation letter to Advincula through the IBP since it was the last known link to him and they may have knowledge of how to relay the invitation to him,” Lacson said.
He said the hearing is set on Friday at 9:30 a.m. and would push through once Advincula confirms his attendance.
“In the meantime, we are doing some background investigation,” Lacson said.
One of the goals of the hearing, Lacson said, would be to bolster proposed legislation providing heavier penalties against perjury, especially before congressional investigations.
Also, he said, an early hearing would provide the public a chance to see for themselves if the claims made by “Bikoy” had any basis.
“The hearing will allow the public to observe his demeanor and determine if his claims are true. And if his claims have basis, it will allow voters to reject those involved,” Lacson said.
He also said “Bikoy” must provide documents to support his claims.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the man who surfaced and claimed to be Bikoy in the “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos that linked several members of the presidential family to the illegal drug trade in the country.
Guevarra said the NBI will invite Advincula to determine the veracity of his allegations.
“Peter Advincula can go to the NBI and present his evidence if he has any,” he said, in an interview.
But he also warned Advincula that he could be in trouble if he fails to prove his allegations.
“If the NBI finds that Advincula had nothing to show by way of competent evidence, he might find himself in the same boat as Rodel Jayme,” he said, referring to the man arrested for sharing the Bickoy videos on a website he created.