By Vanne Elaine Terrazola and Martin Sadongdong
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday described as “fools” those who believed Peter Joemel Advincula’s claims against President Duterte’s family and allies.
Sotto said he was proven right about his suspicions over the man who identified himself as “Bikoy” and implicated personalities in the Duterte administration in the illegal drug trade.
“Nakita naman nila 2016, lumapit na sa akin ‘yan, ‘di ko pinatulan, eh. Ewan ko kung sino itong mga tangang pumatol eh. ‘Di ba. Dinala pa sa IBP (You see, he approached me in 2016 and I did not entertain him. I don’t know who the fools are who believed in him. Right? They even brought him to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines),” Sotto said.
The Senate chief also took a swipe at members of the opposition who initially demanded for an investigation on the First Family’s drug links as claimed by Bikoy.
“‘Yong opisyal ng isang partido, noong tinitira si Paolo Duterte, sabi dapat ilagay sa Witness Protection Program (WPP). Ngayon, huwag daw paniwalaan,” he said. (An official of a political party, when presidential son Paolo Duterte was being accused of drug involvement, said Bikoy should be placed under WPP. Now that he changed his narratives, they’re saying that people should not believe him.)
He also tweeted on Thursday: “Hindi ba may politiko nagsabi dapat daw imbestigahan mga sinasabi niyan? Nasaan na yun (Didn’t a politician say that Bikoy’s claims should be investigated? Where is she/he)?”
Opposition senators earlier called on authorities to look into Bikoy’s allegations, although they denied having a hand in the controversial “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos.
Liberal Party (LP) chairman and Vice President Leni Robredo questioned the credibility of the hooded man in the video.
Sotto maintained that Advincula should prove his claims that the opposition, particularly, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and LP members, orchestrated the release of the videos to supposedly destroy the Duterte administration.
He agreed that the self-proclaimed whistleblower has questionable credibility, having flip-flopped on his accusations several times.
“Ang pinakamaganda, para paniwaalaan siya, maglabas ka ng pruweba. Ilabas mo yung pruweba mo. Katulad ng sino nagdala sayo sa IBP, anong oras, kailan — ‘yong mga ganon. Sino ang kumausap sayo, kung may kumausap man sayo, bigyan mo kami ng date, time and place, hindi lang yung pangalan,” he said.
“Kausap daw si Sen. Trillanes, ilang beses? Bigyan mo kami ng date, time, and place para mapatunayan ‘yon, then paniniwaalan ka. Hindi yung puro kwento lang,” he added.
Advincula, who was wanted for estafa and large-scale illegal recruitment, surrendered to police on Wednesday afternoon.
On Thursday, the Philippine National Police held a press briefing, allowing Advincula to air his accusations, this time against the opposition, while he recanted his statements about President Duterte’s family and his allies.
The PNP earlier insisted that the wanted man was a fraud.
Robredo, Trillanes, and the others mentioned by Advincula have denied the claims.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) sees nothing wrong when Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy,” the man who introduced himself as the hooded figure in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, appeared and spoke in a press conference at the police general headquarters, the country’s top cop said Friday.
Police General Oscar Albayalde, PNP Chief, said he already expected that there would be criticisms that would be thrown their way when they decided to allow Advincula to speak up after he was presented to the public on Thursday.
“We cannot please everybody and we don’t expect everybody to appreciate or agree with whatever we are doing,” Albayalde said.
“Hindi kami nabubuhay or nagseserbisyo sa bayan (We don’t live or serve the country) to please everybody. We are here to serve the country, the Filipino people,” he added.
The PNP has become the subject of criticisms after some stakeholders said the police should have verified first the information that Advincula had revealed in the news conference.
“Wala pong pinag-iba si Bikoy doon sa mga nakakulong na ini-interview ng media doon sa loob ng kulungan at pinagbibigyan natin na makapagsalita at kung ano ang gusto nilang sabihin (Bikoy is no different from detainees who are being interviewed by the media inside the jails to air their side),” Albayalde explained.
“Wala akong sinabing totoo ang sinabi niya. As I have said, it’s up to him to prove kung totoo o hindi ang sinabi niya (I never said that he was telling the truth. As I have said, it’s up to him to prove that he was being honest this time),” he noted.
Mayor Sara Duterte blasted members of the opposition tagged by Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy” as the ones behind the viral videos titled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” calling it a “scam created by people who oppose the Duterte administration.”
Mayor Sara said the group is so disorganized that it “cannot even get to the first base because the path to their objective is in disarray.”
“Kung ako leader ng grupo na ito (If I were the leader of this group), I will shoot myself in the head, get rid of the brain that is not useful,” Sara said.
Congressman-elect Paolo Duterte said a proper investigation should be made into the latest confession of Advincula.
He said that from the very start, it was clear that the Bikoy videos were fabricated, with a narrative “taken straight from the playbook of people whose desire is to destroy our name and our reputation.”
“All the lies presented were also meant to crush the trust of the Filipino people in the authorities and inspire public disgust against the government — truly the handiwork of people who want to undermine the Duterte administration,” Paolo said.
“Without a doubt, as I have said before, Senator Antonio Trillanes was behind it. And now that many names have also surfaced, to include Sen. Risa Hontiveros and several lawyers, I believe a proper investigation is in order,” Paolo said. (With a report from PNA)