Robredo hits sedition allegations: 'Nakakatawa talaga'

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Rebredo said it was "laughable" that sedition allegations were filed against her over the viral Bikoy videos that tagged President Rodrigo Duterte and his family in the drug trade, as she questioned whether or not authorities thoroughly verified information.

"Nakakatawa talaga. Kasi unang una, hindi naman tayo sobrang bobo na nag-iimagine tayo na mapapataob natin ang napaka [popular] ang Presidente na napakataas ang rating.... na gagamitin itong isang tao na obviously sinungaling," Robredo said on her radio program Biserbisyong Leni on Sunday. July 21.

(It's laughable. First of all, we're not stupid enough to imagine we can oust a popular President with high ratings...by using someone who is obviously lying.)

Robredo was responding to a sedition complaint filed by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against the her and 35 others, most of whom belong to or are allied with the Liberal Party (LP). (READ: We must rally behind Robredo, Pangilinan tells LP bloc in House)

The 3-page complaint, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Thomas Ibay, accused them of engaging Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy to "spread lies against the President, his family and close associates, making them to appear as illegal drug trade protectors and how they earned staggering amounts of money." 

The complaint had also alleged that the crimes of inciting to sedition, libel, and obstruction of justice, were committed inside the Ateneo de Manila University compound in Quezon City.

There, the complaint said, respondents "planned to spread false information against President Duterte's family and administration officials" to "agitate" the population into protesting with the possibilty of toppling Duterte and allowing Robredo to succeed.

The Vice President hit the allegations, saying the statements made by the CIDG could be easily verified for its veracity. The PNP itself had earlier dismissed Advincula as nothing more than an "information peddler" when he first surfaced in public, but later took him in after he changed his story and implicated the opposition and others critical of Duterte's policies.

Robredo added was impossible for her to be involved in such a plot as she and the LP were swamped with the campaign period for the May 2019 elections when the videos surfaced in April 2019. (TIMELINE: The 'Bikoy' controversy)

"Sa gitna pa talaga ng kampanya? Hindi na nga tayo magkanda-ugaga at kulang na kulang ng panahon para makaikot sa bansa. Talagang ang aatupagin pa natin pagpataob ng Presidente? Parang hindi naman tayo ganoon katanga," Roredo said.

(In the middle of the campaign period, really? We were too busy with everything going on and even lacked time to go around the country. Would we really even plan to overthrow the President? We're not that stupid.)

She added, "Sana hindi ito reflective ng buong institusyon, kasi talaga namang at first glance, alam mo na kaagad na sinungaling. Dalawang bagay lang: either nagamit sila o sila iyong nanggamit."

(Hopefully this is not reflective of the entire institution becaue at first glace, you would easily know it's a lie. It's either they were being used or they are using [the claims].)

Robredo urged the public to wait and see how the PNP and department of justice would respond as this would be reflective of the state of the institutions. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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