Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who claims to be the mystery star of controversial video series Ang Totoong Narco List (“The Real Narco List”), this morning claimed the videos — allegedly part of an elaborate plot to smear President Rodrigo Duterte — were the brainchild of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the staff of jailed Senator Leila de Lima, and Senator Risa Hontiveros, who promptly labeled the accusations “absurd.”
Speaking at a press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Advincula, who yesterday surrendered himself to police, said the three senators worked with him and several members of church organizations to create the videos, which allege that some members of Duterte’s camp are benefitting from the drug trade.
Advincula now says that the accusations he leveled in the viral video series as the hooded character Bikoy are false.
The series, he insists, was created to ruin Duterte’s reputation and oust him from power. Advincula said that Trillanes and the others wanted this to happen so that Vice President Leni Robredo could become president, with Trillanes allegedly believing Robredo would appoint him vice president if the plot succeeded.
Advincula further alleged that the group’s other objective was to ruin the chances of Duterte allies winning the Senate, an objective that failed spectacularly if true.
The alleged plot even had a name, he says: Project Sodoma. Trillanes’s codename for himself was “Stella,” he added.
An emotional Advincula said in a mix of Filipino and English: “It’s so hard to live on lies. It’s so hard to live with a director who has created a script telling you what to do. It’s hard to live like that. When I spoke at the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines), you can notice that my voice was breaking. It was against my feelings to read what was written on that script.”
Advincula first surfaced on May 6 at the IBP’s office in Pasig City, saying that he was Bikoy, the hooded man in the viral videos who accused presidential son Congressman Paolo Duterte, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s husband Manases Carpio, and newly elected Senator Christopher “Bong” Go of receiving millions of pesos from the drug trade.
After revealing himself as Bikoy, Advincula reiterated on May 6 that Paolo and Go have dragon tattoos on their backs, allegedly proof that they were members of a drug syndicate. Go has since bared his back to prove that he doesn’t have any tattoos, but Paolo has refused to do the same.
Today, Advincula said it took nine months for their group to plan Project Sodoma and create Ang Totoong Narco List, and that he went along with it because he was allegedly promised that he would be paid PHP500,000 (US$9,517) and given a government job if they succeeded.
All documents presented in the videos were allegedly from Trillanes and the videos were shot in a seminary. He claims that he met Trillanes and other plotters in several meetings in De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University.
Advincula also alleges that the resurfacing of former anti-drug cop Eduardo Acierto, who accused former Duterte adviser Michael Yang of being involved in the drug trade, was part of Project Sodoma. He claimed that he has personally met Acierto during one of the group’s meetings.
He said that he surrendered because he wanted to clear his name. He also said that he noticed that after the opposition Liberal Party (LP) lost during the midterm elections held last week, Trillanes became harder to contact. He then became afraid that he would be “eliminated” by the group that he used to work with.
Philippine National Police chief General Oscar Albayalde said that Advincula gave himself up yesterday at the Northern Police District in Caloocan City. Advincula, who has a standing warrant of arrest, will undergo booking procedures after the press conference. He has been charged with fraud and illegal recruitment in La Trinidad in Benguet and Baguio City.
Speaking to CNN Philippines after the morning press conference, Senator Hontiveros was quick to deny her involvement with any plot. “Now when he (Advincula) sings a different song and accuses the opposition of outlandish things, all of a sudden his credibility is restored? How absurd. This is fanciful and another attempt by this (Duterte) administration to distract the public,” she said.
Vice President Leni Robredo was also quick to slam Advincula, whom she said was lying. In her own press conference today, she said: “I can speak for the party. We have nothing to do with the Bikoy issue.” She added that she was ready to face the accusations in any forum.