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DoJ: No sedition, just conspiracy

Alvin Murcia

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Former senator Antonio Trillanes may have escaped sedition charges over the production of “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video but his woes are far from over as government prosecutors see him liable of grand conspiracy with certain elements to scandalize and smear President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was according to Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas during an afternoon press conference at the Department of Justice in connection with the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video that was aimed to besmirch the reputation of President Duterte and his family.

Torrevillas said they did not charge former Sen. Antonio Trillanes with sedition, only conspiracy because of participation in the production of the video. Lawyers stressed that for conspiracy to stand in court, there has to be agreement and decision in committing such unlawful act.

She said the respondents did not go into the overt acts in committing the acts of sedition. “That is already punishable under the law. No need to specify one by one the overt acts. Because overt acts are not needed in order to hold you answerable for conspiracy.”

Torrevillas said these are mere indications to commit sedition and they dismissed sedition and yet they filed conspiracy which according to the prosecutor are two different crimes.

“We also discussed in the resolution, the series of acts which clearly manifested that there is indeed was a grand conspiracy, number one the production of the ‘Bikoy’ videos, second the uploading, third the press conferences, the coming out of Acierto linking the President and his family to illegal drug syndicates.”

The prosecutor reminded that these events came out almost during the election period, and on making Jomel Advincula alias “Bikoy” as a state witness, the prosecution panel said they will think about it.

“We’ll think about it. Remember that Advincula is the only witness of CIDG but the prosecution is not precluded from utilizing other witnesses, other evidences when they already reach the court,” she explained.

Torrevillas said it is too early for them to tell right now that they will utilize him (“Bikoy”) as our witness, since he was one of the accused in the case.

“We are not precluded from utilizing other evidence which might come out after the preliminary investigation,” she added, pointing out that they can entertain other witnesses if they can get one that would corroborate.

If there is somebody that is with “Bikoy” during the production of the videos or the planning itself they can use it or present him as an ordinary witness since the crime is bailable and punishable by less than six years.

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