In a privilege speech Monday afternoon, Trillanes said the priests, whom he did not identify, first brought Advincula to him in August 2018 and told him that he had sought sanctuary because drug syndicates wanted him dead.
“I listened to him but I found his details lacking and confusing so I set them aside and totally forgot the conversation,” Trillanes said.
The senator also said that in February, the same priests returned to him with documents supposedly containing bank accounts of the syndicate’s leaders.
The priests told him that these documents were given to him by Advincula’s two companions—a certain Jessmark Acosta and Dan de Vera, who are said to be members of the drug syndicate.
The priests also told him they started receiving death threats after receiving the documents.
This, Trillanes said, was about the time that President Rodrigo Duterte said priests and bishops should be killed.
Trillanes said he asked some foreign and local journalists to validate the documents, but was told this might take a while.
“But if the account details are accurate, the money trail could be traced. So as far as those documents are concerned, the existence of this syndicate may be true depending on the results of the validation process later on. They said they would report on it only after it was confirmed,” Trillanes said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The senator said he went back to Advincula for details on his testimony at the time, so as not to get burned by false accusations.
After that, Trillanes said, he went on a series of speaking engagements abroad, when the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series started appearing on social media.
“The Senate records would bear me out that I was not in the Philippines that time,” said Trillanes, insisting he had nothing to do with the videos.
Trillanes said he did not present Advincula to any Senate hearing as he did not pass his vetting process.
On May 23, in a news conference before the Philippine National Police, Advincula retracted his earlier allegations against the President’s families and allies and accused Trillanes and the opposition Liberal Party of being behind the video series that aimed to unseat Duterte.
READ: 'Trillanes Bikoy video producer'
This was a direct repudiation of his claims on May 6, when he held a press conference at the offices of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to reiterate his accusations against the President’s family and allies.
The opposition politicians tagged by Advincula have all denied his accusations.
A lawyer, meanwhile, asked the Supreme Court to investigate the role of the IBP in Advincula’s surfacing.
In a letter to Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said the IBP officers responsible for the press conference at the IBP’s office “should be investigated and held accountable.”
Advincula had sought free legal assistance from the IBP but was denied his request. The IBP later said it was not involved in his press conference.
But Topacio said the IBP disclaimer was difficult to believe because the function room where the press conference was held appeared to have been set up in advance, with a sound system and tables and chairs for the press.
The lawyer said Advincula’s press conference was not in line with the IBP’s objectives, and that it was highly improper for its officers, particularly, outgoing president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo and incoming president Domingo Egon Cayosa, to have accommodated Advincula.
“Furthermore, Advincula was even accompanied by the IBP National Director for Legal Aid, attorney Minerva Ambrosio, as well as some Catholic nuns,” Topacio said in his letter to Bersamin.
“Much damage has been done to the IBP, as well as to the legal profession in general, hence, the officers responsible for this reprehensible event should be investigated and be held accountable,” he added.
READ: ‘Bikoy’ loses credibility as accuser—DOJ
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