The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asserted it has legal authority to assist law enforcers in preparing the sedition complaint filed against Vice President Ma. Leonor Robredo and 34 others following revelations made by Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula, the man behind the so-called “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
In a statement sent to newsmen, the OSG said that “By law (Executive Order No. 292, Instituting the “Administrative Code of 1987”, Section 35, Book IV, July 25, 1987), the OSG is the principal lawyer of Republic of the Philippines, and all its agencies and departments, which includes, among others, the PNP-CIDG”.
“It is the OSG’s legal duty to serve its clients when they seek legal advice. Even Dean Pacifico Agabin has confirmed the legality of OSG’s action. It is also the duty of the OSG to abide by the client-lawyer confidentiality imposed by law. Hence, as lawyers, we cannot divulge details or information about the specifics of this case. The PNP-CIDG is our client, not Bikoy. Bikoy has his own private lawyer,” the statement read.
Charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal/obstruction of justice were filed against Robredo and 34 other individuals.
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.
Also included were senatorial candidates Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino, lawyer Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III, Gary Alejano, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, and Jose Manuel Diokno.
Likewise 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.
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said he saw nothing wrong with the assistance from the OSG.
“Its but normal for us to seek legal advice and comments especially so from OSG. If we seek advice from private lawyers, all the more that we should do that with the OSG, being the counsel of all government agencies and instrumentalities. It is but normal and nothing irregular there,” Albayalde said. (with Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)