President Rodrigo Duterte slammed opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, calling the lawmaker shameless following allegations that he was the brains behind a campaign to oust the Chief Executive.
President Duterte’s tirade came after Peter Joemel Advincula, claiming to be the “Bikoy” in the “Ang Totoong Narco-list” online videos that smeared the President’s family and allies, accused Trillanes and other opposition leaders of being behind the black propaganda campaign.
Before Advincula recanted the allegations in his videos, the Palace and the police had cast doubt on his credibility, saying he was wanted for cases of estafa and illegal recruitment, and that he was known for making up wild stories.
But speaking in Davao City, Duterte expressed confidence that the truth would come out soon enough and slammed Trillanes.
“The people paid for you to study at PMA [Philippine Military Academy],” he said, referring to Trillanes. “Socks, shoes, t-shirts, food, the public all shouldered it. Then you have the audacity to stage a mutiny?”
Trillanes had staged two unsuccessful attempts to oust then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when he was still with the military, but was later pardoned by Arroyo’s successor, President Benigno Aquino III, and won a seat in the Senate.
“And what did you do? You ruined the Senate. You used that power to run after people,” Duterte said.
The President also accused Trillanes of owning several cars and properties illegally listed under the names of other people.
“Your fellow soldiers do not know that you have a lot of cars and properties that are under the names of other people. You are the topmost user of a dummy. But it will come out eventually,” he said.
“You are shameless. You are not even a man,” Duterte told Trillanes, who graduated cum laude at the PMA.
Trillanes quickly hit back at the 74-year-old President, slamming Duterte for accusing him of alleged unregistered properties.
“You’re back at it again. You haven’t even recovered from your failure to prove your invented offshore bank accounts you once alleged to me and those you said against my mother. Now, you have a new allegation. This time, you even used Bikoy as your source. You’re a genius, Duts,” he said in a statement.
Trillanes, one of the most vocal critics of the administration, and Duterte have been at each other’s throats for quite some time.
And when Duterte said the lawmaker “went overboard,” he said he would summon Trillanes’ mother, Estelita, over alleged anomalous dealings with the Philippine Navy.
The President said he will initiate an investigation and issue a subpoena for his mother whether Trillanes likes it or not. Trillanes then urged Duterte to do his worst, criticizing the Chief Executive for dragging his 84-year-old mother, who currently suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease, into their political quarrels.
The politicians he named have all denied Advincula’s allegations.
According to the President, the majority of the Filipino people did not believe the narcolist videos for they went too far with their allegations.
“My daughter, who’s a 14-year-old, was called a drug lord. They went to extremes. It was so incredible to the point that no one believed it, they really went too far,” he said, referring to Kitty, his only daughter with his common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña.
The video series linked presidential son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, to the illegal drug syndicate. The videos also mentioned of Agricultural assistant secretary Waldo Carpio’s drug links as the younger Duterte’s alleged dummy in his illegal transactions.
The videos also implicated Senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go.
Surrendering to the police this week, Advincula recanted the contents of his videos and apologized to the President.
He then claimed that Trillanes and other opposition politicians were behind the videos as part of a campaign to oust Duterte and install Vice president Leni Robredo in power.
Senate Minority Franklin Drilon urged the Philippine National Police to file appropriate charges against Advincula, after he linked the Liberal Party to the Bikoy videos.
But Senator Panfilo Lacson said anybody who wants to build a case against Advincula should better document and consolidate all the pieces of evidence.
He said allowing Advincula regular access to media interviews would only add to the confusion.
“We need to see some solid proof or evidence that will substantiate Bikoy’s claims, regardless of who will be at the receiving end,” he said.
“At least there is something to evaluate and validate. Otherwise, it’s pointless even listening to him, except for entertainment,” Lacson added.
Drilon, meanwhile, denied the allegations against the LP.
“The Liberal Party had nothing to do with the so-called Bikoy video. We deny the accusations,” Drilon said in a statement.
“That the Liberal Party connived with an obviously professional con artist to topple the government is most absurd. It is ridiculous on so many levels. It’s excruciating to have listened to all his lies,” he added.
“Having said that, I urge the Philippine National Police to get to the bottom of this Bikoy issue and file the appropriate charges,” he said.
Earlier, Drilon sought the reopening of the shabu probe on presidential son Paolo Duterte citing the claims of Bikoy in the videos that linked family members and friends of Duterte to illegal drugs.
Advincula earlier claimed that he was “Bikoy,” the hooded man in the “Ang Totoong Narco-list” videos, and accused Duterte’s relatives and allies of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
But he retracted his statements on Thursday, and stressed that it was merely scripted and all his public disclosures were lies and fabricated at the direction of Trillanes and other opposition politicians.
Advincula, who was brought to hospital in Camp Crame after his blood pressure shot up Friday, has returned to the custodial facility of the PNP, a TV report said.
Also on Friday, the PNP said it did not intent to show bias when it allowed Advincula to implicate members of the opposition in an alleged plot to oust the President.
PNP spokesman Col. Bernard Banac said Advincula’s public turnaround was not orchestrated and said he had tried to dissuade him from speaking.
“We never had an intention to be biased,” Banac told ABS-CBN News.