MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday maintained she never met Peter Joemel Advincula, who accused her of being behind videos that linked the Duterte family to illegal drugs.
In her counter-affidavit in connection with sedition complaint filed against her, Robredo called Advincula's allegations against her as "founded solely on mere surmises and speculations."
“To make it clear, I have never met Mr. Advincula. The first time I saw Mr. Advincula was in the news coverage of the press conference held at the Office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (“IBP”) on May 6, 2019,” Robredo, who refused to be interviewed, said in her counter-affidavit.
Robredo said she had three events in Bocaue and Bustos, Bulacan on the supposed day she met Advincula and did not get home until 6:30 p.m., making it impossible for her to be in Ateneo.
She attached pictures and news reports of her activities to her counter-affidavit.
Advincula claimed he met Robredo once at the Ateneo on March 4 at 4 p.m. while the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) claimed she met with Advincula repeatedly.
Robredo's lawyer, Marlon Manuel, said they decided to file a counter-affidavit after hearing from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Office of the Solicitor General during the previous hearing that no additional evidence will be submitted in relation to the complaint.
In her counter-affidaviit, Robredo also decried the persecutory nature of the sedition charge against her, citing the OSG’s involvement in the drafting of Advincula’s affidavit.
In an order dated August 23 but released to the media only Thursday, the DOJ panel of prosecutors denied the various motions filed by the respondents in this case.
It said it has authority to conduct the preliminary investigation, contrary to claims raised by Free Legal Assistance Group lawyer-respondents Chel Diokno, Erin Tanada and Ted Te that the Justice Secretary has no authority to form a special panel of prosecutors to probe the sedition complaint.
The panel also said it has no authority to disqualify the OSG from representing the CIDG.
It ordered the other respondents to submit their counter-affidavits during the next hearing on September 6 while detained Sen. Leila de Lima is given until September 9 to subscribe to her counter-affidavit inside her detention cell in Camp Crame.
Robredo and other opposition figures have been accused of sedition and other charges for alleged involvement in the viral "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos that tagged President Rodrigo Duterte's family in the drug trade.
"Bikoy," a hooded figure in the videos, claimed that he used to keep financial records for the drug syndicate that allegedly had dealings with the Duterte family.
On May 6, Peter Joemel Advincula surfaced at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines headquarters and claimed he was "Bikoy." He claimed he was not paid by the opposition Otso Diretso slate, only to flip-flop weeks later and link the Liberal Party and other figures to the viral videos.
- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News