PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday defended the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group after it was criticized for consulting with the Office of the Solicitor General the cases for sedition and inciting sedition filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition figures.
According to the PNP chief, it is but normal for the PNP-CIDG legal department to seek the legal opinion and advice of the OSG in preparing any case.
“There is no irregularity here. No, the OSG has no hand in the case and as explained to me by the CIDG legal counsel, it is normal for us to seek legal advice from the OSG. Kung sa private lawyers nga nanghihingi kami ng legal advice, much more sa OSG pa,” Gen. Albayalde said.
The lawyer of Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy,” the government’s principal witness against Robredo et al, denied that the involvement of the OSG in the filing of the charges is a form of oppression of the opposition.
“The acts of OSG in giving advice should not be translated right away into oppression of opposition. Otherwise the OSG will be stifled. This will result [in] paralysis of their function,” lawyer Larry Gadon said in a statement.
“This is a gross misconception of the functions of the OSG,” Gadon added amid reports that two OSG employees had a hand in the drafting of ‘Bikoy’s affidavit which was the basis for the filing of sedition and inciting sedition charges against Robredo and company by the PNP-CIDG.
Advincula had claimed he is the hooded figure “Bikoy” in the “Totoong Narcolist” series of viral videos that linked President Duterte’s family and allies to the narcotics trade before the May 13 national and local elections which saw all administration Senate candidates winning and the opposition ‘Ocho Derecho’ being walloped in the senatorial race.
Advincula claimed he was paid by some opposition stalwarts to appear in the videos which he said was made as part of the opposition’s effort to unseat President Duterte from the Palace.
Gadon said OSG officials were not present when Advincula’s statements were being taken. “I had no knowledge of any participation of OSG which was probably consulted by the CIDG after the statements were taken. It is perfectly normal for any government office to seek the advice of the OSG for correction of any legal matter in line with their work. There is nothing wrong nor sinister with that since the OSG is the lawyer of the government,” he said.
The OSG admitted helping the PNP in the filing of criminal charges against opposition leaders in the alleged plot to oust President Duterte.
In a statement, the OSG confirmed that it aided the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in filing the complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo and others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week.
But it stressed that there is nothing wrong with this because providing legal services to government agencies like the PNP is part of its mandate under Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code.
“The OSG is the principal lawyer of Republic of the Philippines, and all its agencies and departments, which includes, among others, the PNP-CIDG. It is the OSG’s legal duty to serve its clients when they seek legal advice,” the OSG explained.
The OSG also clarified that the PNP-CIDG is its client and not Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy, who is represented by private lawyer Larry Gadon.
With Hector Lawas