By Rey Panaligan
A lawyer formally asked the Supreme Court (SC) to investigate and hold accountable the officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for allowing Peter Joemel Advincula, alias “Bikoy,” to hold a press conference at the IBP offices last May 6.
During the press conference, Advincula admitted he was “Bikoy,” the hooded man in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that accused President Duterte’s family and his close allies of involvement in illegal drugs trade.
The plea for investigation was contained in a notarized letter sent on Monday (May 27) to Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.
In his letter, Topacio said the press conference that was apparently allowed by then outgoing IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo would constitute a violation of Article 1, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws which mandates that the national organization of lawyers recognized by the SC is strictly apolitical.
Topacio said that during the May 6 press conference, the IBP logo can be seen at the background, a scenario that gave the impression that the entire organization of lawyers was advocating Advincula’s assertions.
He said that IBP national director for legal aid Minerva Ambrosio and some Catholic nuns even accompanied Advincula during the press conference.
He added that incumbent vice president Domingo Egon Cayosa should also be investigated for violations of the IBP rules.
“Much damage has been done to the IBP, as well as to the legal profession, in general, so that the officers responsible for this reprehensible event should be investigated and held accountable,” Topacio stressed in his letter.
Thus, he pleaded the SC “which exercises supervision and control over the IBP… to look into this matter at the soonest possible time in order to preserve the trust and respect of the public in the IBP as the national organization of lawyers in the Philippines.”
During the press conference, Advinclula read a statement before media representatives and left immediately.
He surrendered to the police last week and tagged Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Liberal Party as the “brains” in his allegations.
The IBP, through Fajardo, had denied any involvement in the press conference. In a statement, Fajardo said the IBP had denied Advincula’s plea for legal assistance.
But Topacio said “this disclaimer, however, is difficult to believe since the function room where the press conference was held appears to have been set up in advance considering the presence of numerous media, a sound system, and tables and chairs.”
Last May 10, Fajardo and Cayosa were named in a disbarment complaint filed by the Kabalikat ng Nagkakaisang Manileño (Kabalikat).
The group claimed that the two IBP officers are “guilty of administrative charges” for conduct that constitutes “counseling or abetting” Advincula in committing an illegal act.