DOJ to start probe into sedition raps over ‘Bikoy’ videos

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to hold a preliminary investigation into the complaint filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and her co-respondents in the so-called “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled on August 9.

“The subpoenas were served today. I assure everyone of utmost fairness in the resolution of this case,” Guevarra said in a message sent to reporters.

“The evidence, or the lack of it, will speak for itself. In the ordinary course of things, the complaint shall be dismissed as to those respondents against whom no evidence is presented, while those against whom sufficient evidence is presented shall accordingly be indicted. Let’s wait until this process is completed,” he added.

Members of the DOJ prosecution panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Gino Paolo Santiago.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) earlier said it has legal authority to assist law enforcers in preparing the sedition complaint filed against Robredo and 34 others following allegations made by Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula, the man behind the videos.

Robredo and 34 others are facing charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal/obstruction of justice.

Also named in the complaint were former senator Antonio Trillanes IV; Jonnell P. Sangalang; Eduardo Acierto; Senators Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel and Leila de Lima; former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Fajardo; IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa, former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te; lawyers Minerva Ambrosio, Serafin Salvador, and Philip Sawali.

Senatorial candidates in the recent polls Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino, lawyer Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III, Gary Alejano, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, and Jose Manuel Diokno were also charged.

Also charged were Yolando Villanueva Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, Fr. Robert Reyes, Bro. Armin A. Luistro, Cubao Diocese Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David, former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, publicist Boom Enriquez, Vicente R. Romano III, Danilo Songco, and film actor/activist Joel Saracho.

A certain alias “Sentrix” and “John Doe”, along with “Bikoy”, were also named for their part in the so-called Project Sodoma, which was allegedly hatched to discredit administration candidates during the May 13 elections. (PNA)

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