Malacañang on Wednesday defended the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) from criticism for helping the Philippine National Police (PNP) prepare the sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula or “Bikoy”, as part of evidence in the complaint filed against opposition members for their alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo explained that the PNP merely “consulted” the OSG in preparing the sworn statement.
“It is mandated under the law to counsel, to give lawyering activities to any of the offices when its office is consulted. So in this particular case I talked with SolGen earlier and he said that PNP sought its advice on the matter so the draft was sent to them for review,” Panelo said in an interview with reporters.
“The SolGen is the lawyer of the Republic of the Philippines and all his clients are all offices and agencies of the government,” Panelo said.
The OSG earlier clarified that its client is the PNP and not Advincula, whose legal counsel is lawyer Larry Gadon.
Panelo further stressed that there was nothing wrong with the setup since it is only part of procedure for the PNP to submit such cases to authorities.
“There was a complainant, correct? And he (Advincula) went to the PNP and the PNP investigated the case and it is also procedural for the PNP to submit the case either within the part of the justice or proper authority with respect to any complaint filed by any private complainant,” Panelo said.
“So it’s still regular, procedural. Procedurally correct,” he added.U
Panelo also emphasized that President Rodrigo Duterte is not aware of the SolGen’s move to assist in the preparation of the sworn statement.
“No, I was not even aware, I had to ask him. Di naman interesado si Presidente sa mga ganun (The President is not interested on matters concerning that),” Panelo said.
“He makes the departments and the offices function on their own without any interference coming from him. He only does it when there is a charge of corruption,” he added.
The case stemmed from the Totoong Narcolist videos, which showed a hooded figure tagging President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and allies in the illegal drug trade.
Advincula later bared that these videos were produced by members of the opposition to discredit administration candidates and back opposition senatorial bets in the May 13 midterm elections.
In its complaint, the PNP-CIDG accused Vice President Leni Robredo and 34 other individuals of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, and harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice charges. PNA