Inciting to sedition
Can we start from the very beginning, please?
Peter Joemel Advincula was host to aseries of six videos entitled “Ang Totoong Narco List,” released earlier this year (April) which implicated various members of President Duterte’s family (including Bong Go) as having ties with the illegal drugs industry and benefiting financially from them. He had lists (tara) of money paid into bank accounts. He then appeared at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) head office and asked for help to move forward his case against those he had implicated.
What was the government’s reaction? Outright, the Philippine National Police refused to investigate the charges against the Presidential family, passing them off as black propaganda. Instead, they investigated Advincula’s past and brought out certain interesting facts about him: He was an estafador, he was an ex-convict, he had made previous allegations to government authorities which were found to be false, etc.
In other words, while the PNP refused to investigate the charges against the Presidential family, they went to town on Advincula and completely discredited him. He was far from being a credible witness. That’s what you call killing the messenger. So far, so good.
Then, Advincula did an about-face on his story. His “Ang Totoong Narco List” became “Ang Totoong Plotters” (per Erwin Tulfo). The new version was that the whole series of six videos was false. Advincula had been persuaded to do it by a group of people who wanted to bring down the Duterte administration and its senatorial candidates.
And who are in this group?
You read the list yesterday, Reader. Included were Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino (plus various members of their staff); then you had the rest of the Otso Diretso senatorial candidates. Also included were Archbishop Socrates Villegas; Bishops Teodoro Bacani, Pablo Virgilio David and Honesto Ongtioco; and priests Albert Alejo, Robert Reyes and Flaviano Villanueva.
Plus former education secretary and LaSalle president Armin Luistro, former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te, and IBP luminaries Dan Fajardo, Egon Cayosa and Minerva Ambrosio.
What was the PNP reaction to this about-face? Remember, they had just finished completely discrediting Advincula. But now, lo and behold, they swallowed Advincula’s new version hook, line and sinker. And have been investigating his new charges, where they completely ignored his old ones. Not only investigated, they have filed charges against the whole lot, for “inciting to sedition.”
Tell me, General Oscar Albayalde (you are, alas, one of my favorites in this regime), what makes you judge Advincula as untrustworthy in the “Narco List” case, and completely trustworthy in the “Plotters” case? Isn’t he the same ex-convict, the same estafador, the same alleged liar? Given his completely contradictory statements, should not both have been investigated? Why just one? Is it because, heaven forbid, your goal is not to serve the Filipino people, but to please the President?
Just look at that list of “inciters to sedition” and you have (I don’t include the IBP here, they seem to be just “collateral damage”) what looks like a complete list of the best of the opposition to the President and the most credible of his critics. Since when is opposition and criticism seditious? What happened to free speech? And did you stop to think how Sen. Leila de Lima got involved? Isn’t she incarcerated at your PNP headquarters in Camp Crame?
By the way, to get Senator De Lima incarcerated, the testimony of convicted felons was used. The same modus operandi is being used here. Convict or ex-convict testimony is being used to buttress government cases against “enemies.” Where are we going?
The PNP has been very slowly and painfully trying to improve its image with the Filipino people. How can you allow it to be thought of as doing the President’s dirty work of silencing his opponents and his critics? (The penalty for inciting to sedition is imprisonment of up to six years.) Not to mention striking fear in the hearts of Filipinos—because if it can happen to these most respectable of persons, it can happen to any of us.
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