‘Bikoy’ had same drug allegations vs Aquino administration in 2016 – Sotto

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who called himself “Bikoy” before he went public, had alleged the same drug links against the administration of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Senator Vicente Sotto III said in a press conference on Wednesday, May 8.

According to Sotto, Advincula had reached out to his office while he was detained inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and offered information against former president Noynoy Aquino, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, and former justice secretary Leila de Lima as alleged "patrons" of the Bicol-based ”Quadrangle" drug syndicate. 

He submitted the information through an affidavit in December 2016. (TIMELINE: The 'Bikoy' controversy)

Advincula had been detained in jail because he was sentenced to 6 years in prison for estafa in 2012. He was released in 2018 for “good behavior.”

The document held the same allegations he hurled against President Rodrigo Duterte’s son Paolo Duterte, longtime aide Bong Go, son-in-law Manases Carpio, and partner Honeylet Avanceña in his viral video series, “Ang Totoong Narco List.”

No different from his allegations against the close people to President Duterte, Advincula apparently claimed that Aquino and his colleagues received millions in drug money transmitted through local bank accounts.

The syndicate he claimed to be working for was also called the "Quadrangle Group," which was supposedly based at Misibis Bay in Albay.

Bikoy’s first appearance

Advincula was first encountered by Sotto and his staff in December 2016, offering information against the Aquino administration. 

“He wanted to be a witness against Senator De Lima,” Sotto said.

During that time, Senator Leila de Lima was being probed by the House justice committee. De Lima was accused of being involved with illegal drug groups based in Bilibid when she was justice secretary,  even supposedly having her driver Ronnie Dayan as her own bagman.

Sotto sent one of his political staffers, Hutch Altavas, to vet Advincula. Altavas visited Advincula on December 2, 2016 and later received his 6-page affidavit, and some bank documents alleging multimillion-peso deposits to the accounts of Aquino and his colleagues.

When Sotto checked the documents out, he said they were denied by the banks, specifically the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

“I did due diligence. Kaya noong 2016, hindi ko pinatulan ito (This is why in 2016, I didn’t pick this up),” Sotto said.

Bikoy’s credibility

While the allegations were the same, Sotto also noted some changes in Advincula’s narrative. 

In his 2016 testimony, Avincula apparently introduced himself as a leader of a drugs delivery team for the Quadrangle Group. Advincula did not mention the position in his 2019 videos, interviews, and one-time appearance at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Sotto added that Advincula changed some codes for the supposed bank accounts for the people he accused of drug ties. In 2016,  Advincula said Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado had the code GOVETDO, but in 2019, he said Tallado had the code ECHOTANGO-QDRGL004. 

These findings have led Sotto to believe that Advincula is lying and is an unbelievable source.

Sotto's revelation was the basis of Senator Panfilo Lacson for canceling a Senate probe, which he had set with Advincula as resource person.

In an interview with reporters on Wednedsay, police chief General Oscar Albayalde said Advincula is a serial "information peddler," who had offered information about the drug trade to at least two law enforcement agencies but either failed to deliver or handed out false information. – Rappler.com 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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