Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 10 others on Monday were formally charged before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court of conspiracy to commit sedition over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video blog.
In a 57-page Resolution dated 27 January 2020 and released only last Friday, the court found probable cause to indict Trillanes, Peter Jomel Advincula, Jonnel Sangalang, Yolanda Villanueva Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Robert Alejo, Vicente Romano III, Joel Saracho, Eduardo Acierto, Boom Enriquez, and a certain “Monique” for conspiracy to commit sedition.
The indictment came after the panel of prosecutors concluded its preliminary investigation on the complaint of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel estafa and obstruction of justice filed by the PNP-CIDG against Advincula and 30 other espondents that included Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Ana Theresia Hontiveros Baraquel, Leila de Lima and Trillanes, and former lawmaker Bam Aquino.
Citing Article 141 of the Revised Penal Code, the panel noted that criminal liability arises for individuals who “conspire, agree to raise commotions and disturbances to attain by force, intimidation, or any other means outside of the legal methods of any of the objectives; to prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or the holding of any popular election, to prevent the National government, or any provincial or municipal government, or any public officer thereof, from freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order; to inflict any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee; to commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class; and to despoil, for any political or social end, any person, municipality or province, or the national government of all its property or any part therof.”
It explained that “the interlocking pieces of proof provide a complete picture of the grand conspiracy between and among some of the respondents to create hatred or revenge against the President and his family with the end in view of toppling and destabilizing the current administration.”
Sometime in April 2019 before the midterm elections, videos implicating members of the President’s family and his close associates to supposed links in the drug trade were made public.
On 7 May 2019, Advincula held a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office in Pasig City, claiming he was the hooded man “Bikoy” featured in the video.
Advincula then appeared at the PNP headquarters and claimed the videos were released as part of “Project Sodoma” designed to create “fake news and false stories about the President, his family and his associates” to erode public trust in the present administration, remove the President; install Vice President Leni Robredo as President and Trillanes as Vice President; and boost the candidacy of the Otso Diretso senatorial line up.
The panel, however, dismissed the complaint for sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa and obstruction of justice against all respondents.