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Those ‘Ang Totoong Narcolist’ videos

The “Bikoy” sedition case reminds me of a similar controversy in Zambia, a country in Africa. The controversy began with the publication of the “Chiluba is a Thief” commentary in a critical newspaper. This piece was highly critical of then Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, who was portrayed as being involved in a web of massive corruption. Chiluba sued the newspaper editor and writer for libel.

The court battle later spawned adverse political consequences that spun out of control. During the court trial, the defense of truth was invoked — that is, Chiluba was, in truth and in fact, a thief. Fortunately for the accused, the truth was later uncovered in the form of an offshore account called Zamtrop.

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Explosive evidence in the form of bank documents emerged, reliably showing that this Zamtrop account served as a financial device utilized by Chiluba to siphon off huge amounts from Zambia, forming the hub of a massive web of financial corruption directly involving him. Zamtrop was used as an illegal conduit for the transfer of public funds from Zambia to high-level public officials and private individuals identified in the account. The damning evidence about Zamtrop won the day for the accused, who were acquitted. In turn, it resulted in a reversal of political fortune for Chiluba.

In the midst of the legal controversy, Chiluba was succeeded by his handpicked successor Levy Mwanawasa, a lawyer. A legal stalwart against corruption, Mwanawasa turned against Chiluba, who had earlier plucked him from obscurity to become president. In a momentous speech in parliament denouncing Chiluba, Mwanawasa presented in detail, like a lawyer arguing in court, the damning evidence against Zamtrop. He successfully secured a vote in parliament in favor of the removal of immunity from Chiluba, who later faced legal action, ultimately suffering in utter national disgrace.

In the Bikoy case that is now the subject of a Department of Justice probe, the people allegedly behind the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos are charged with sedition and cyberlibel, among others. Earlier, Rodel Jayme was indicted in court for inciting to sedition. There is a strong likelihood that there will also be an investigation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives as a prelude to legal charges in court.

Against this backdrop, the truth about the Bikoy “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos is compelling. It is the only way that those charged as allegedly behind those videos could vindicate and redeem themselves. For now, those videos mean nothing or do not have any probative value in the face of the destructive turnaround of Bikoy. Ironically, as the star witness on the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, Bikoy himself demolished any credibility and belief in those videos.

However, in his privilege speech, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV offered a glimmer of hope. To a keen legal observer, what strikes particular attention is his statement that the “tara” documents came from two persons whose names he expressly cited. This implies that these so-called “tara” documents did not come from Bikoy himself. This is also confirmed by Bikoy when he said in his Integrated Bar of the Philippines press conference that people he knew from the drug syndicate supplied those documents.

The alleged handlers of Bikoy, notably Trillanes and Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, have no choice but to prove the truth of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, as the appellation in fact implies. They owe the truth to the hapless high Catholic prelates who are just collateral damage, like Bishop Ambo David who stated that Fr. Alejo brought Bikoy to him one time.

Unless they can prove the truth, the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos are not what they purport to be. They are nothing but pure fiction good only for cinema. Unless proven to be true, those videos will surely bring them down into the abyss without any hope of coming back.

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Jude Josue L. Sabio is a lawyer.

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TAGS: ’Bikoy”, Ang Totoong Narcolist, Frederick Chiluba, Inquirer Commentary, Jude Josue L. Sabio, sedition case, Zambia
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