It’s obvious now, months after the “Totoong Narcolist Videos” first broke, that the Bikoy scandal was actually just a scam designed to rob the Filipino people of the truth and their free opinions. Now former Senator Antonio Trilanes IV’s own lawyer has brought to light the truth about the Senator’s involvement in the Bikoy case.
Yesterday, Atty. Jude Josue Sabio, who you’ll remember Sabio as the lawyer who filed a communication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Duterte’s war on drugs, posted an article on the Mindanao Gold Star Daily site to narrate the time when he was almost hired to be Bikoy’s lawyer.
The story focuses on a meeting on Apil 29, 2019, but the events which led to this began a week or so prior, on April 23. This is where we’ll start.
Sabio said he was contacted through Viber by one of Trillanes’ close-in staff, Jonnel Sangalang, on April 23, 2019.
Sangalang asked is Sabio would be interested in representing Bikoy. Sabio said he was surprised as he’d “absolutely no idea about the senator’s [Trillanes’] involvement with Bikoy.” According to the alleged conversation, Jonnel Sangalang explained that Bikoy had “handlers” to whom Trillanes would recommend Sabio as counsel. Sabio, in turn, would be tasked to submit a complaint with the Ombudsman “following Bikoy’s public revelation that he would soon surface”.
Two days later, on April 25, Sangalang allegedly contacted Sabio again to ask whether the attorney’s license was updated. He referred to the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) that Sabio had previously failed to comply with.
Sabio was offended by the reference and responded by stating that the MCLE deficiency is “just a matter of compliance” that “does not affect [his] license as a lawyer”. Sabio had previously been ordered arrested for failing to pay the fee for his MCLE compliance certificate, but the arrest warrant was recalled in April this year.
“Still, he would not believe me, saying “Seriously, really?” obviously in reference to that earlier egregious Warrant of Arrest against me which had been voided by the Court of Appeals on 29 March 2019,” said Sabio of Sangalang.
“After some thought, I was jolted by the absurdity: I was being recruited to be a lawyer and yet here I was being asked if my license as a lawyer is updated. Beginning to feel an insult and affront on my profession, I began to react negatively, resulting into a nasty exchange of texts between Jonnel and me and causing a lot of emotional distress.,” said Sabio.
Sen. Trillanes set a meeting with Sabio “in an effort to placate [him]”. This was originally set for August 26 but was rescheduled to August 29..
On April 29, 2019, Sabio and his wife, Jo ann, met with Trillanes, who was accompanied by one of his staff, in Novotel Hotel, Cubao. The topic: Bikoy.
Sabio said the meeting was “unusually turbulent”, unlike the times he had met with Trillanes before. Both Sabio and his wife reportedly discouraged Trillanes from chasing the Bikoy case. The ICC case, another of Trillanes’ pet projects, was running low on funds.
Jo ann was said to have tearfully confronted Trillanes and advised him to drop the Bikoy case. Sabio’s narration shows that the ex-senator obviously did not heed the words of warning and the meeting culminated in Trillanes attempting to recruit Sabio as Bikoy’s lawyer.
Soon after in May, following the elections, Bikoy contradicted his own earlier statements and said that the “Totoong Narcolist Videos” were fabricated.
In July, the PNP filed criminal charges with the DOJ on the basis of Bikoy’s renunciation statement against Trillaes, Jonnel Sangalang, Fr. Alego Sr., and more.