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NBI should pursue probe into ‘Bikoy’ case

May 07, 2019

The appearance of a man claiming to be “Bikoy” at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Monday points all the more to the need for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to pursue the truth behind the controversial video series.

It is important for the public to know who are the people behind the allegations mouthed by the dark, hooded character of Bikoy in the video against President Rodrigo Duterte’s family, as well as the counterclaims by the Palace that all that was part of a plot to oust the President.

The case naturally attracts wide public attention because it sows intrigue. The “Bikoy” in front of the video camera is folksy in name that it can be easily remembered. Whoever thought of his name is better at nomenclature than the person who invented “Otso Diretso.”

Prior to Bikoy’s appearance at the IBP on Monday, the NBI already identified and apprehended the uploader of the Bikoy video, Rodel Jayme. The Department of Justice has now ordered his indictment after it recommended charges of inciting to sedition to be filed against him.

But that is hardly all the questions and concerns in the public mind.

What has been perpetrated here by those behind the Bikoy video is a vile attempt to slander the entire family of President Duterte by naming them as alleged recipients of money from the illegal drugs trade. It attempted to turn on its head the signature program of the President: the nearly three-year campaign of the government to stamp out the menace of illegal drugs.

The fact that the videos were circulated as “Ang Totoong Narcolist” is a tell-tale sign. They were designed to do maximum damage on this administration.

Oddly, the Palace has said that it is not inclined to run after the people behind the alleged ouster plot, since it is still just a plan. “They can do their worst, we’ll just do our best,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Does this mean that the public should just dismiss as inconsequential Rodel Jayme’s significant connection as a campaign worker of the Liberal Party?

Should we just cast aside the contention of Labor Undersecretary Jacinto “Jing” Paras that the arrest of Jayme points to a bigger network of individuals plotting to take down President Duterte?

Bikoy is only one such factual detail. The NBI must investigate whether the Bikoy videos really formed part of a larger plot. If they are, then there is compelling reason to unmask the identities of those who truly instigated Bikoy to make these allegations public.

And if such conspiracy is, indeed, being hatched, then the continuing investigation into Jayme’s role in it — if he could lead the investigators to the main plotters — and therefore, his possible admission as a state witness by the authorities, are steps in the right direction. They point the way toward the identification of Jayme’s accomplices and the mastermind of Bikoy.

At the same time, the investigation was given an added dimension with the appearance of Peter Joemel Advincula at the IBP, identifying himself as “Bikoy, the man in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist videos.

In a press conference at the IBP on Monday afternoon, he said he was seeking legal help with his plan to submit an affidavit to press charges against the President’s family and allies in the illegal drug trade as he claimed in the controversial series of videos circulated in the media.

The IBP made a prudent move when it said it has not yet accepted Advincula as a client and would want to evaluate first the merit of his case.

It’s not for the media to determine the truth of these matters. It is for professional investigators to ferret out the facts. Whatever the results of the investigation, the public must know about it and it is the media’s mandate to report it.

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