Photo by Jire Carreon and Inoue Jaena/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The release of a series of videos tagging key members of President Rodrigo Duterte's circle as alleged members of drug syndicates made the month leading to the 2019 elections a roller-coaster ride more than ever.
This controversy led to several events, including a warrantless arrest, a man going public despite alleged threats to his life, and complaints of inciting to sedition against key figures in the opposition.
Here is a timeline to keep track of events and updates on the controversy involving what has been termed as the "Bikoy videos' that featured whistle-blower Peter Joemel Advincula. This will be updated as needed.
A series of videos are uploaded online which allege that members of President Rodrigo Duterte's family and his allies are involved in the illegal drug trade. The first of 5 videos is released April 2 while the last go online by April 22.
APRIL 17, 2019
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra orders the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the videos – not what they contain but who the people behind them were.
APRIL 29, 2019
The NBI Cybercrime Division secures a search warrant for the residence of a certain Rodel Jayme. The warrant is issued by Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 headed by Judge Andres Soriano.
APRIL 30, 2019
The NBI serves the search warrant aiming to seize computers and data that can help in their investigation into the background of "Bikoy."
Guevarra says Jayme voluntarily went with NBI agents to their headquarters and was arrested there. (READ: Legal questions on the arrest of ‘Bikoy’ video sharer)
MAY 2, 2019
The bureau accuses him of committing "Article 142 Inciting to Sedition under the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012."
Contrary to previous statements by Guevarra, the NBI clarifies that Jayme "did not just share" the videos but participated "in a concerted effort (not merely a statement of opinion) directed to a more complicated result.”
Guevarra clarifies Jayme owned the domain metrobalita.net which was found to have significantly spread the videos online.
MAY 3, 2019
NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin says it is “very possible” for Jayme to become a state witness.
Jayme also says he is willing to cooperate, adding that the "people behind" the creation of the website are supporters of the Liberal Party.
Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler
MAY 6, 2019
The DOJ announces it will be charging Jayme with inciting to sedition over the spread of videos deemed damaging to the Duterte family. The resolution is approved by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon. (READ: Looking at 'inciting to sedition' in the time of Duterte)
The resolution states that "creating a website and subsequently posting videos that allege the involvement in the drug trade and the receipt of pay-offs of the President of the Philippines and members of his family, including the President's minor daughter, is not an exercise of his freedom of speech and expression but a clear act to rouse among its viewers a sense of dissatisfaction against the duly constituted authorities."
On the same day, the man formerly only known as "Bikoy" surfaces and identifies himself as Peter Joemel Advincula. (READ: Alias 'Bikoy': From seminarian to ex-con to whistle-blower)
Before the media at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Advincula reiterates his claims that presidential son Paolo Duterte and senatorial candidate Christopher “Bong” Go, among others, are part of a drug syndicate operating in Misibis Bay in Albay.
Advincula says he wants to sue Duterte and Go. He is now asking legal assistance from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and that he is prepared to testify should the Senate start an investigation.
MAY 7, 2019
DOJ files information related to the Jayme complaint before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.
Misibis Bay management issue a statement denying the allegations of Advincula and threaten to file cyber libel charges against him.
MAY 8, 2019
The IBP declines Advincula's request for legal aid to sue the younger Duterte and Go. IBP national president Abdiel Fajardo says the decision "was reached after a thorough evaluation of his application was conducted by the National Center for Legal Aid."
Senate President Tito Sotto, in a press conference, says Advincula's claims are not credible as he previously approached his office in 2016 with information linking former president Benigno Aquino III and other officials to drug syndicates.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayaleda says Advincula is nothing more than an "information peddler."
Senator Panfilo Lacson cancels the planned Senate hearing on the claims of Advincula, saying “enough of this nonsense.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra issues an ultimatum to Advincula, saying he will be charged with inciting to sedition if he does not go to the NBI to present evidence to back up his claims.
MAY 23, 2019
Advincula surrenders to police, saying everything in the Bikoy videos and his previous statements were “fake.” He claims he played a role in a “script,” which he says was created by the Liberal Party to oust Duterte and install Vice President Leni Robredo as new president. He also tags Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as the main person behind this supposed script.
Albayalde says that perhaps Advincula felt pressure from the manhunt operations against him. Advincula says he wanted to clean his name and “start a new life.”
MAY 27, 2019
The PNP starts its probe into the claims of Advincula regarding an alleged ouster plot against Duterte by Trillanes and other key opposition members.
PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde says the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) already has an active case folder against people named by Advincula.
JUNE 3, 2019
PNP announces that Advincula turned himself in for protection and has been placed under protective custody.
CIDG chief Major General Amador Corpus says Advincula surrendered himself on May 27, adding there is enough reason to believe that his life is in danger.
JUNE 4, 2019
The Department of Justice wraps up its preliminary investigation and submits for resolution the estafa case against Advincula without any single pleading from him.
The complainant’s lawyer, former Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin delos Santos, says Advincula’s lawyer never appeared.
The case stems from complaints against Advincula for allegedly duping partners, sponsors, and participants in an August 2018 pageant in Albay.
JUNE 11, 2019
Trillanes releases text messages from Advincula which supposedly show him pushing for the production of the viral videos against the Duterte family.
"Dito natin nakikita, again wala kang makikitang ouster plot diyan. Wala kang makikitang sinasabihan siya ng script ng sinuman (You will see here that there is no ouster plot. You will not see anyone telling him to say anything)," Trillanes says in a Senate press conference.
JUNE 25, 2019
He, however, clarifies that the PNP is still in touch with regard to Advincula’s claims against the opposition.
JULY 18, 2019
PNP CIDG files complaints of inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, and obstruction of justice against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 others, mostly belonging to the Liberal Party and their staff over the viral Bikoy videos.
Among the other respondents are Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros; former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino; and Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Chel Diokno, Florin Hilbay, Gary Alejano, Romulo Macalintal, Samira Gutoc, and Erin Tañada.
Also named as respondents are priests Father Flaviano Villanueva, Father Albert Alejo, Father Robert Reyes; Bishops Honesto Ongtioco, Teodoro Bacani Jr, Pablo Virgilio David, and Socrates Villegas; and former education secretary Brother Armin Luistro.
The people named deny involvement, calling the complaint harassment and part of the government’s crackdown on dissent.
JULY 24, 2019
JULY 29, 2019
Advincula surrenders to the PNP over a warrant of arrest in Legazpi City, Albay for cyber libel or alleged violation of Republic Act No. 10175, Section 4.
The warrant stemmed from the complaint of tycoon Elizaldy Co whom Advincula named as one of the drug lords in the vidal videos.
JULY 31, 2019
AUGUST 5, 2019
Advincula applies for state protection through the Witness Protection Program (WPP). His lawyer, Larry Gadon, submits the application before the DOJ.
In his application later, Advincula says that “with the different prominent political figure and various influential personalities that I divulged and disclosed during the series of investigation conducted by PNP CIDG, my life and the life of my family and security is at risk.”
AUGUST 9, 2019
Prominent lawyers of the respondents question the mandate and authority of the Office of the Solicitor General to participate in a criminal prosecution.
Former senator Rene Saguisag, the lawyer of Senator Risa Hontiveros says the OSG “should be the tribune of the people, not tuta (lapdog) of this administration.”
AUGUST 20, 2019
Solicitor General Jose Calida says the videos were published using the servers of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).
AUGUST 23, 2019
The Department of Justice prosecution panel effectively allows the continued participation of the Office of the Solicitor General in the preliminary investigation of the inciting to sedition complaint involving Bikoy.
AUGUST 29, 2019
Robredo files her counter-affidavit to the inciting to sedition complaint. She denies being in the Ateneo campus on March 4, 2019 for a supposed meeting on the ouster of Duterte, backing this claim with photos and other documentation that show she was in Bucalan for official events.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
Lawyers of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) file a perjury counter-charge against the police official who filed the complaint of inciting to sedition against them and other key members of the opposition.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2019
In a fraternal message, 4 bishops included in the inciting to sedition charge say they chose to pray instead, adding that "prayer is our best weapon against every evil." Addressing accusers, they say: "May they meet the God of all Truths, be touched by His grace, and stay away from the prince of lies."
SEPTEMBER 13, 2019
Former Magdalo representative Gary Alejano and his party mate Jonnell Sangalang ask the Court of Appeals to stop the DOJ panel investigating the inciting to sedition complaint against the opposition.
FEBRUARY 10, 2020
The Department of Justice (DOJ) charges former senator Antonio Trillanes IV with conspiracy to commit sedition over the "Bikoy" narcolist videos.
Aside from Trillanes, personalities charged include: Peter Joemel Advincula alias "Bikoy," Jonnell Sangalang, Yoly Villanueva Ong, Vicente Romano, JM Saracho, Boom Enriquez, a certain "Monique," and priests priests Flaviano Villanueva and Albert Alejo.
They are charged for violating Article 141 of the Revised Penal Code. – Rappler.com
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.