Ruling on sedition raps vs. Bikoy, et al. out by end-January


MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said prosecutors may resolve by the end of the month the criminal charges for sedition filed against opposition figures arising from the revelations of whistleblower Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, in the so-called Ang Totoong Narcolist video.

"Unlike ordinary cases under preliminary investigation, the sedition case involves many respondents and several charges all rolled into one," Guevarra said in response to statements made by some respondents on the supposed delays in the disposition of the case.

Prosecutors, he said, are carefully evaluating the evidence in view of the highly sensitive nature of the case.

"At any rate, they intend to resolve (it) before the end of the month," Guevarra added.

Aside from sedition, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) also lodged charges of inciting to sedition, cyber libel, and harboring criminals/obstruction of justice against 36 opposition figures.

The case has been submitted for resolution by the prosecution panel of the Department of Justice (DOJ) following the submission of counter-affidavits by the respondents.

Two respondents, former Magdalo Party-list representative Gary Alejano and party mate Jonell Sangalang opted not to file a counter-affidavit.

Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Villanueva-Miranda earlier urged the DOJ panel to order the issuance of a subpoena for Jude Sabio, a lawyer of former senator Antonio Trillanes; Davao businesswoman Guillermina Barrido; and consumer advocate Perfecto Jaime Tagalog.

This was after the CIDG filed new evidence in the sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, and harboring a criminal/obstruction of justice cases.

Barrido and Tagalog have filed their sworn statements before the PNP. The testimony of the three would have been corroborative to the initial complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG.

Also named in the complaint are Vice President Leonor Robredo, Trillanes, Eduardo Acierto, Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Fajardo, IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa, former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te, lawyers Minerva Ambrosio, Serafin Salvador, and Philip Sawali.

Senatorial candidates in the recent polls Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino, lawyers Lorenzo "Erin" R. Tañada III, Florin Hilbay, and Romulo Macalintal 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, 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 in the May 13, 2019 elections.