MANILA - A party-list group on Friday filed a disbarment complaint against officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for hosting the press conference of the man supposedly behind videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte's family to the drug trade at the IBP office on Monday.
IBP president Abdiel Dan Fajardo and IBP executive vice president (EVP) Domingo Egon Cayosa were impleaded in the 6-page complaint filed by Kabalikat ng Nagkakaisang Manileño (Kabalikat) Party-list before the Office of the Bar Confidant at the Supreme Court.
In a press conference at the IBP, a certain Peter Joemel Advincula introduced himself as Bikoy, the hooded figure who appeared in viral videos claiming that drug money had been funneled into the bank accounts of Duterte's son former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his son-in-law Manases Carpio, and former aide Christopher "Bong" Go.
He sought legal aid from the IBP and denied links to the opposition, which the administration believes is behind a plot to oust the President.
Kabalikat Party-list said the respondents are "guilty of the instant administrative charges" for conducts that constitute "counseling or abetting" Advincula in committing an illegal act.
"In allowing Advincula to use the premises and resources of the IBP free of charge, respondents appear to have counseled or abetted Advincula in the commission of slander and/or inciting to sedition," the complaint read.
The group noted that Advincula's press briefing was not in accordance with the mission of the IBP, an organization of all of the country's lawyers.
"It does not elevate the standards of the legal profession; it does not improve the administration of justice; and it does not enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively," it said.
"While Advincula was uttering seditious words or speech during his press conference, the logo of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines can be seen at the background, which creates the impression that the IBP is supporting Advincula’s press conference."
Cayosa, in a statement, said the issue was "an unfortunate distraction and an undeserved burden."
"With respect to the Bikoy Advincula incident, the facts and the truth about this controversy will show that I have responsibly discharged my duties as EVP and incoming National President and that I have protected the interests of IBP and its members within the bounds of law and professional ethics and with my integrity intact," he said.
He added that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.
The IBP on Wednesday rejected Advincula's request for legal aid, saying that the organization "cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party."
The Davao chapter of the IBP earlier slammed its national leadership for allowing itself to be used as a "staging area" for Advincula's press conference.
Solicitor General Jose Calida also hit IBP president Fajardo for supposedly using his position to "advance his personal agenda" in allowing Advincula to speak at the organization's office.