Philippines

CIDG’s sedition complaint designed to ‘intimidate, harass’ lawyers – FLAG

MANILA, Philippines — The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) said the sedition complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against its members was meant to “intimidate and harass” lawyers.

“The charges filed by the CIDG are designed to intimidate, harass, and interfere with our lawyers who are just doing their jobs as human rights defenders,” FLAG said in a statement on Friday.

On Thursday the PNP-CIDG filed sedition and other complaints against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 others, including FLAG chairman lawyer Chel Diokno and FLAG Regional Coordinator for Metropolitan Manila Theodore Te over their alleged link to the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

READ: Sedition case filed vs Robredo, 35 others over ‘Bikoy’ videos

The lawyers’ group added that the charges are “baseless and meant to silence and persecute human rights lawyers, opposition leaders, and the Church and to send a message to anyone who dares to criticize the Duterte administration.”

FLAG also denounced the criminal charges filed against them, noting that Peter Joemel Advincula, one of the respondents in the complaint, has no credibility.

“[FLAG] strongly condemns the filing of criminal charges against its officers and members based on the statements of Peter Joemel Advincula, a witness with absolutely no credibility,” the group said.

Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be “Bikoy” the hooded narrator in the videos, said in his testimony that the video series was part of the opposition members’ “Project Sodoma” which seeks to discredit Duterte and destabilize the government.

The six-part video series claimed that the family and close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte were involved in the illegal drug trade.

Aside from the FLAG lawyers and Robredo, the PNP-CIDG also included in the sedition complaint ranking officials of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate.  /muf

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