Robredo to DOJ: Evidence first before I respond to sedition complaint

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, August 8, asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to defer the submission of her counter-affidavit to the sedition complaint against her, until the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) can produce evidence to back its allegation.

"It is respectfully prayed that the Honorable Office direct the complainant CIDG to produce and present any and all evidence in its custody in relation to the crimes charged in the letter-complaint," Robredo said in her motion for production of evidence filed before the DOJ on Thursday.

The Vice President asked the DOJ that "in the meantime, that the submission of the counter-affidavit be deferred pending receipt of evidence if any."

Robredo cited Rule 112 of the Rules of Court which states that at the prosecutorial level, "the respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy them at his expense."

She also invoked the Manual for Prosecutors, which allows the respondent to examine the evidence against him or her.

Larry Gadon, the lawyer of Peter Joemel Advincula or Bikoy, has been floating the idea of impeaching Robredo if and when the DOJ indicts her for inciting to sedition.

Bikoy's affidavit

The CIDG complaint accusing Robredo and key members of the opposition of inciting to sedition attached the affidavit of its star witness, Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy, that details the alleged meetings and production of videos all supposedly meant to bring down the Duterte administration.  

Advincula called this "Project Sodoma," in which he was also named respondent by the CIDG. Advincula has applied for state protection.

Advincula's affidavit mentioned Robredo joining a March 4 meeting inside the Ateneo de Manila University along candidates of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate, except Mar Roxas. That was the only instance Robredo was mentioned in the affidavit.

Advincula mentioned meeting with former senator Antonio Trillanes IV several times, and named him the mastermind.

Everyone named in the complaint categorically denied Advincula's accusations.

The CIDG has only presented Advincula's affidavit so far. Advincula has flip-flopped from accusing former president Benigno Aquino III of drug  links in 2016, to making the same allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte and member of his family in early 2019, to his Duterte ouster allegation against the opposition.

In his affidavit, Advincula claimed he had digital evidence of all his supposed correspondence with the people named in the complaint as well as keys and key cards to the apartments he supposedly hid in during Project Sodoma.

"Assuming that such evidence exists, the same has been deliberately withheld from the instant proceedings, in patent violation of respondent's rights to due process," Robredo said in her motion. 

The first hearing on the inciting to sedition complaint will be on Friday, August 9. 

Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said that in filing the motion, they counted on Guevarra's assurance of fairness in handling the complaint.

"Pinanghahawakan namin 'yung sinabi ni Secretary Guevarra na they will try to ensure na patas itong prosesong ito. So what we're asking for the DOJ to do is sabihan 'nyo naman 'yung mga complainants na pulis na 'yung sinasabi nilang resulta ng imbestigasyon yung sinsabing ebidensya na hawak nila bigyan kami ng kopya para naman maayos ang maging sagot namin at maging patas yung laban," he said.

(We're counting on the statement of Secretary Menardo Guevarra that they will try to ensure that this process is fair. So what we're asking the DOJ to do is tell the police complainants, that what they're saying as the result of their investigation, what they're calling as their evidence, they should provide us a copy so we can compose our answer, for this to be a fair fight.) Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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