Trillanes, 'Bikoy,' 9 others face sedition raps

MANILA -- The Department of Justice has filed criminal charges of conspiracy to commit sedition against former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and several others before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court in connection with their allegations linking President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade.

Aside from Trillanes, also charged were Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who introduced himself as "Bikoy" in the "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos released during the 2019 election campaign period; Jonnel P. Sangalang, Yolanda Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, Vicente R. Romano III, film actor Joel Saracho, Eduardo Acierto, publicist Boom Enriquez, and a certain “Monique”.

The complaint alleged that Trillanes and the others are involved in "circulating malicious and scurrilous libels and fabricating evidence against him and his immediate family members, making it appear that the president and his family are engaged in a drug trade syndicate, with no other purpose but to inflict an act of hate or revenge against the president and his immediate family members."

The charges were approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento upon the recommendation of the panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Gino S. Paolo Santiago.

The initial complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group had originally included Vice President Leonor Robredo, Senator Ana Theresia 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 2019 polls Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino, lawyer Lorenzo "Erin" R. Tañada III, Florin Hilbay, and Romulo Macalintal; 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. but they all have been cleared of the complaint. (PNA)