The hooded man behind the “Bikoy” videos linking the family of President Rodrigo Duterte to illegal drugs was the same person who in 2016 tried to link then President Benigno Aquino IV and three of his Cabinet officials to the narcotics trade, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.
In the wake of this revelation, the Senate called off its investigation of the Bikoy allegations.
At a forum Wednesday, Sotto described as “incredible” the sworn statements and supporting documents given him by Peter Joemel Advincula—who identified himself as “Bikoy” in the latest “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
This was why he did not make the allegations public at the time, Sotto said.
“First, the story was incredible. Like for example, I cannot imagine Noynoy (Aquino) going to that underground safe house in Misibis with [then executive secretary Paquito] Ochoa, [then Justice secretary Leila] De Lima exchanging money and exchanging shabu. I can’t imagine that happening, This kind of story is very difficult to believe,” Sotto said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum held in the Senate building.
As this developed, the scheduled Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs hearing on Bikoy’s set for tomorrow, May 10, was canceled.
Committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson branded as “nonsense” all the accusations hurled by Bikoy against resigned Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte; Manases Carpio, husband of Davao Mayor Sara Duterte; Honeylet Avanceña, President Duterte’s longtime partner and their daughter Kitty.
In the videos, Bikoy also tagged former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go, who is running for senator in Monday’s elections and other allies and close friends of the Duterte family.
“Enough of this nonsense,” said Lacson, adding that, “Sotto said it all.”
He said asking Bikoy in the supposed Senate hearing about the people behind his accusations would mean that they believe him.
“It’s quite glaring. We know that he just made this up,” Lacson said as he canceled the hearings and recall the invitation sent to Advincula through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, where he appeared and gave his statement.
He said it is now up to the Department of Justice, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to investigate Advincula’s claims.
Speaking in the news forum, Sotto said it is a shame that some people believed Bikoy.
“Definitely the person is not credible at all,” said Sotto who used a Powerpoint presentation to point out the many inconsistencies in his sworn statements in 2016 and the statement was given to the IBP on May 6. He said the irreconcilable statements would lead one to conclude that he just made up his stories.
In his 2016 statement, Sotto said Advincula named Aquino, Ochoa, Roxas, and De Lima as those present during illegal drug transactions.
But in his 2019 statement, Sotto said Advincula removed their names and replaced them with the former vice mayor, , Veronica Salvador (alleged a dummy account for Honeylet Salvador Avancena and her 15-year-old daughter), Go and Carpio.
The Senate leader likewise pointed out that said the bank codes and bar codes supposedly assigned to the accused officials in 2016 were different in 2019. He added that some bank and bar codes seemed rehashed or just rearranged.
Sotto recalled that Advincula first approached his office in 2016 and executed a six-page affidavit and submitted supporting documents, including 19 pages of bank accounts. A copy of the affidavit was given to journalists yesterday.
“It was really a big bombshell during that time if I paid attention to it. But I found Advincula’s story incredible,” Sotto said.
He said the first thing they did was check with HSBC Makati if they had a bank account listed in Advincula’s documents and found they did not.
Sotto said the IBP should have taken greater care before allowing Advincula to air his allegations at their head office.
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, meanwhile, said Advincula has sold information before.
“This is how he lies. Before he gives information, he asks for money,” Albayalde said in Filipino.