SolGen asks DOJ to subpoena 3 witnesses in sedition raps

MANILA State lawyers on Friday urged anew the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel to subpoena and hear testimonies from new witnesses to corroborate the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) against Peter Joemel Advincula alias 'Bikoy' and several opposition figures.

Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Villanueva-Miranda urged the panel on Friday to reconsider and order the issuance of subpoena for three individuals namely Jude Sabio, a lawyer of former senator Antonio Trillanes, Davao businesswoman Guillermina Barrido, and consumer advocate Perfecto Jaime Tagalog as fresh evidence in the cases of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal/obstruction of justice filed by the CIDG.

At least two of the three, Barrido and Tagalog, have initiated sworn statements before the PNP.

"This is (a) denial of due process on our part, on the part of the government," Miranda said, adding that the testimonies are new evidence which was brought to the Solgen's (Solicitor General) attention only after the CIDG had filed the cases arising from the testimony of Advincula, the man in the so-called "Ang Totoong Narcolist" video".

The DOJ panel had denied the motion by the OSG to subpoena the three, as well as the agency's manifestation to file a reply to the counter-affidavits filed by some of the respondents.

"(R)emember this person, Jude Sabio, he's the one who filed a case against the president in the ICC, he has wrote (a column entitled) Abyss of No Return... that Sabio is being asked by Trillanes to be a lawyer for Bikoy," Miranda explained as she stressed the need for the subpoena.

The testimony of the three would have been corroborative to the initial complaint filed by the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Miranda explained.

On the other hand, the SolGen claimed that they want to introduce the testimony of Barrido. "(S)he's the one from Davao and she's the one who said there were killings done by the president but she denied it, she was forced to do this affidavit that's why we want to do that".

Miranda also said they will file an appeal to allow them to file a reply affidavit to the counter affidavit of the respondents.

"That is our right not to be denied due process," she said.

The OSG manifested the submission of additional affidavits but was turned down by the prosecution panel after respondents through counsels voiced their objections.

The panel is set to hear the case anew next Monday to furnish Senator Leila de Lima with a copy of the complaint and the video.

The panel said that upon receipt of counter-affidavits of de Lima, Jose Manuel Diokno and Danilo Songco, the case will be deemed submitted for resolution.

Named in the complaint are Vice President Leonor Robredo. former senator Antonio Trillanes IV; Jonnell P. Sangalang; Eduardo Acierto; Senators Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel and Leila de Lima; former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Fajardo; IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa, former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te; lawyers Minerva Ambrosio, Serafin Salvador, and Philip Sawali.

Senatorial candidates in the recent polls Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino, lawyer Lorenzo "Erin" R. TaAada III, Gary Alejano, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, and Jose Manuel Diokno were also charged.

Also charged were Yolando Villanueva Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, Fr. Robert Reyes, Bro. Armin A. Luistro, Cubao Diocese Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco, retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David, former Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, publicist Boom Enriquez, Vicente R. Romano III, Danilo Songco, and film actor/activist Joel Saracho.

A certain alias "Sentrix" and "John Doe", along with Bikoy, were also named for their part in the so-called Project Sodoma, which was allegedly hatched to discredit administration candidates during the May 13 elections.

The special panel of prosecutors consists of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia L. Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutors Gino Paolo S. Santiago and Michael John M. Humarang. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency