Robredo camp distances Vice President from arrested 'Bikoy' video sharer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 3) — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday dismissed her alleged link to the man arrested for circulating the videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte's family and allies to the illegal drug trade.

"Malinaw na paninira na naman ito. Ayon sa kuwentong ipinipilit ibenta kasabay ng photo, si VP Leni daw ang nasa likod ng pagkilos nitong si Jayme. Para sa kalinawan ng lahat: walang “Rodel Jayme” na nagtatrabaho para sa OVP (Office of the Vice President) o kay VP Leni," her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said in a statement.

The denial came after Robredo's photo with Rodel Jayme surfaced online after he was nabbed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Robredo's spokesperson said a photo doesn't prove she is linked to the man who allegedly shared the "Ang Totoong Narco List" videos constantly, adding thousands ask for photos with the Vice President. Jayme also denied he worked for Robredo. 

NBI on Thursday filed a sedition charges against Jayme in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act. He was arrested on April 30 after it was found out that he was the registrant and administrator of Metro Balita website that allegedly facilitated the circulation of the videos.

"Based on the retrieved conversations, there is continuity of their efforts to conduct their scurrilous libelous attacks against the government. The conversations also revealed that these attacks are planned and with backing from certain personalities,” the NBI complaint read.

Related: NBI arrests man who allegedly helped spread 'Totoong Narco List' videos

Otso Diretso link?

In a media briefing on Friday, he said he gave the website access, but he was surprised when the "Ang Totoong Narco List" videos were uploaded on the website without his consent. He said he was a supporter of the Liberal Party — Robredo's political party — in the 2016 national elections, but he never received any payment for this. 

In a GMA report, Jayme alleged that he was approached in March to create a website that will house articles about the opposition senatorial slate Otso Diretso.

Otso Diretso campaign manager Kiko Pangilinan denied any knowledge about the people behind the video and "Bikoy" the self-proclaimed former drug syndicate member who appears on the videos.

"Hindi. Hindi ko kilala si Bikoy. Hindi ko alam sino siya," he said. In a statement, he also said the Duterte administration is focusing on the videos to divert the focus from the country's pressing issues.

Staunch Duterte critic and detained Senator Leila de Lima urged the government to focus on the real issue and investigate the allegations of "Bikoy."

"Truth is paramount. Do not suppress it. Karapatan ng taumbayan malaman ang katotohanan," she said in a statement.

In the five "Ang Totoong Narcolist" videos, "Bikoy" — an anonymous man claiming to be a former drug syndicate member — said Duterte's 13-year-old daughter, son and former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law Mans Carpio received payoffs from a drug personality. "Bikoy" said money was funneled from the drug syndicate to the bank accounts of these personalities. The videos also tagged former presidential aide Bong Go in the drug trade, saying both Go and Paolo Duterte have back tattoos to indicate their involvement in the drug syndicate.

Otso Diretso senatorial bet and the former administration's top lawyer Florin Hilbay questioned why Jayme was charged with sedition.

"The crime of 'inciting to sedition' is a crime against the government. Paano naging krimen sa estado ang mag-share ng alegasyon na sangkot sa droga ang pamilya ng Presidente? The President's family is NOT the government!" he said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they are not looking into Jayme's political links. He added it remains unclear if Jayme is linked to the Duterte ouster plot claimed by the Palace. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed Bikoy is the starting point of the ouster matrix involving journalists, news organizations, and lawyers, but he later denied saying this even if he was widely quoted.