DOJ panel junks plea to dismiss sedition raps vs. ‘Bikoy’, et al.

MANILA A panel of state prosecutors hearing the sedition and other cases arising from the revelations of whistleblower Peter Joemel Advincula, in connection with a plot to destabilize the Duterte administration before the last elections, turned down on Thursday the motions to dismiss filed by the respondents in the case.

In an order, the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel, citing the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group's (PNP-CIDG) manifestation that the evidence it has submitted in support of its complaint is already sufficient, said "the motions to dismiss and to suspend proceedings based on those grounds are hereby denied".

Advincula and 35 other personalities have been named by the CIDG in the charge sheet for sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa and obstruction of justice.

The special panel of prosecutors, consisting of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia L. Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutors Gino Paolo S. Santiago and Michael John M. Humarang, also similarly said it "see(s) no more reason why the present proceedings should be suspended".

"We stress that the panel shall only consider the evidence which had been filed and presented by the CIDG and the respondents are therefore obliged only to controvert in their respective counter-affidavits the evidence thus submitted by the complainant CIDG," the panel said.

The present panel likewise said it is without authority to disqualify the OSG from representing CIDG in the present proceedings.

In her counter-affidavit filed before the panel Thursday, Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, one of the respondents in the case said she has no part in the allegations.

"I reiterate my public statements that I will never be part of any destabilization plot since this is a subversion of the will of the people," she said in her pleading.

The respondents in the case 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. TaAada 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)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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