The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Friday was asked to dismiss the sedition and other criminal charges against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo over the alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a manifesto submitted before the DoJ, opposition coalition Team Pilipinas prayed to junk the sedition charges against Robredo as she is an “unimpeachable” officer having the mandate of the people.
“We urge the Department of Justice to immediately dismiss the sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and commit to the upholding of her constitutional mandate to serve the Filipinos,” Team Pilipinas said.
The group argued that Robredo has the duty to stay as vice president until 2022 “as duly mandated by the Constitution and the Filipino people through their votes.”
“To prosecute her and remove her from her position based on bogus allegations from a questionable witness is a clear violation of the mandate of the people and an outright insult to our democracy,” it added
Team Pilipinas was referring to Peter Joemel Advincula, alias “Bikoy,” who had filed an affidavit that claimed Robredo and the 35 other “plotters” wanted to remove Duterte from the Office of the President before June 30, 2019.
Advincula, tagging along with the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the DoJ, has filed libel, cyberlibel, inciting to sedition and obstruction of justice charges against Robredo and other critics of the President for allegedly producing the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video.
The group is questioning the credibility of Advincula who is seeking the blessing of the DoJ to become state witness against Robredo and the other respondents to the case.
The six-part video, narrated by Bikoy, links Duterte, his family and close allies to the illegal drug trade.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had said that while it was true that Robredo could be held liable via impeachment proceedings, it covered only as to “removal from office.”
Under Department Order 366 dated July 19, 2019, Guevarra, created a three-member panel comprised of Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, and Asst. State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Gino Paolo Santiago to issue subpoenas to the respondents and to attend the preliminary investigation.
The respondents, meanwhile, were also required to submit their respective counter affidavits into the issue and refute the allegations against them.
Respondents included opposition senators Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros and Leila de Lima; former senators Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th and Antonio Trillanes 4th; Otso Diretso candidates in the May midterm elections Manuel Diokno, Romulo Macalintal, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, Samira Gutoc and former congressman Erin Tañada; and church leaders.