Sedition complaint vs. Robredo, 30 others up for resolution

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — The Justice Department has wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the sedition complaint filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and more than 30 others for their alleged involvement in efforts to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

State prosecutors will now decide if there is probable cause to charge Robredo and her co-accused, including opposition figures and even some religious leaders. These include detained Senator Leila de Lima, Senator Risa Hontiveros and former lawmaker Antonio Trillanes IV, along with candidates of the opposition slate Otso Diretso.

READ: Robredo on sedition case by PNP: A work of ‘sloppiness’

READ: Bishops seek dismissal of sedition complaint

At least two of the respondents, Trillanes and Jonell Sangalang, failed to file their counter-affidavits to deny the charges.

Former Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, along with Sangalang, said he has filed a Petition for Prohibition with the Court of Appeals to stop the Justice Department from investigating the sedition complaint.

“It’s obvious that this administration is using these two agencies (Department of Justice and Office of the Solicitor General) for political persecution, to bully its critics, in deliberate deviance of the Prosecution Service Act, P.D. 478 and the Administrative Code. It is our position that the Court should intervene to stop this continuing and deliberate disregard of the law,” Alejano said in a statement.

The Philippine National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in July filed a complaint against Robredo and 37 other personalities for their involvement in the production and spread of the "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos, which revealed the Duterte's family's supposed drug links. Aside from inciting to sedition, which is punishable with up to six years in jail, cyber libel, libel, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice charges were also filed against them.

Peter Joemel Advincula, the man claiming to be the hooded figure "Bikoy" in the viral videos, has flip-flopped about the origin of the videos.

He earlier said the opposition Liberal Party had nothing to do with it, but later said it was the opposition that hired him to discredit the President.

Malacañang has denied involvement in the case. The Justice Department formed a three-man panel of prosecutors to handle the preliminary investigation, which ended Thursday.