Robredo 'ready to face trumped up charges' in sedition complaint

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is unafraid of the sedition complaint filed against her and other opposition figures and allies, her spokesperson said on Thursday, July 25.

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez said that while they have yet to receive an official copy of the sedition complaint anchored on the allegations of Peter Joemel Advincula of the viral Bikoy videos, the Vice President will readily face any “trumped up charges” hurled against her.

“‘Di pa namin nakikita ‘yong affidavit. Ayaw naming pangunahan kasi ‘di pa namin nababasa (We have not seen the affidavit yet. We do not want to preempt it because we have not read it yet). But definitely the Vice President is ready to face whatever trumped up charges na mailalagay sa kanya (that will be thrown her away). Her legal team is already in place and they will take the appropriate steps at the right time,” said Gutierrez.

He declined to identify for now the members of the Vice President’s legal team.

The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) earlier filed a complaint accusing Robredo, opposition Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino, priests, bishops, lawyers, and Liberal Party staff and allies of involvement in the so-called Project Sodoma to allegedly oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

The CIDG based its complaint on the affidavit of the flip-flopping  Advincula who, in a series of videos that circulated online, initially accused Duterte, his son and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo, Senator Bong Go, and others of having links to the illegal drug trade.

PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde had earlier dismissed Advincula as an "information peddler" when he made allegations against Duterte and his family and allies, but the PNP later hosted a press conference for him and investigated his allegations when he turned the tables on the opposition and pointed to them as masterminds of a supposed Duterte ouster plot. 

Robredo had already said she and the LP, which she chairs, had nothing to do with Bikoy, and that the opposition was not involved in any ouster plot against the President.

The Department of Justice said on Wednesday, July 24, that it will send out subpoenas to Robredo and the 35 other respondents, among them Catholic bishops. (READ: CBCP president: Sedition allegations vs bishops 'beyond belief')

Gutierrez believes the sedition complaint was “politically motivated” amid the renewed calls to impeach Robredo.

“This morning, nakita ko sa balita na ‘yong lawyer ni Advincula said that if the process will result in the filing of charges, mauuwi din sa impeachment. I think this is a clear indicator kung ano ba talaga ‘yong objective nito,” said Gutierrez.

 (This morning, I saw in the news that Advincula’s lawyer said that if the process will result in the filing of charges, it would lead to her impeachment. I think this is a clear indicator of their true objective.)

“Hindi ito criminal case na ordinaryo. Hindi ito batay sa isang maayos na imbestigasyon. Ito ay clearly politically motivated  (This is not an ordinary criminal case. This is not based on a proper investigation. This is clearly politically motivated),” he added.

Robredo is currently facing an electoral protest filed against her by defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, an administration ally.

The Vice President had earlier dismissed the sedition complaint as “laughable,” adding that she is “not stupid enough to imagine we can oust a popular President with high ratings...by using someone who is obviously lying.”

The latest surveys showed Duterte's continued popularity, with an 87% public approval rating midway into his term. – Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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