MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday the state may provide protection to Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who initially accused President Rodrigo Duterte's family of drug involvement only to recant later, tagging the opposition in an alleged ouster plot.
In a statement, Guevarra said Advincula may apply to be placed under government’s Witness Protection Program but has to meet certain requirements to obtain full coverage.
“Nothing prevents Bikoy from applying for WPP coverage but there are, of course, requirements that he has to meet for full coverage under the program,” Guevarra said in a statement.
The justice department will then carefully evaluate Advincula’s eligibility if he applies, he said.
The justice secretary, however, said Advincula may be given “provisional” coverage of WPP upon application and submission of affidavit.
Guevarra noted that Advincula has not yet submitted any statement under oath “much less any evidence, to support his allegations, either before the PNP (Philippine National Police) or the prosecutor's office or any other investigative body.”
In a series of videos, Advincula, who appeared as hooded figure "Bikoy," initially accused Duterte's son Paolo Duterte, son-in-law Manases Carpio, and his former top aide and now incoming Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go of being involved in the illegal drug trade.
He later retracted the claims and pointed to the opposition as the one behind it.
Advincula last week surrendered to police and said his previous allegations were all lies supposedly orchestrated by the opposition Liberal Party and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Besides tagging the opposition party, Advincula claimed he was promised P500,000 to appear in the videos, but the money did not come through.
The Liberal Party and Trillanes have denied Advincula's allegations, saying they are considering filing charges against him. - report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News