Sabio’s letter to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

Part 3
“By contrast, Advincula’s later statement about Senator Trillanes’ direct involvement assumes a high degree of credibility when it is linked to the Senator’s active effort to recruit me.

“If Senator Trillanes’ recent statement about the vetting failure is to be believed, then why did he earlier recruit me as a lawyer in the first place?

“If the narcolists failed the vetting process, then why was I recruited by the Senator to be the lawyer to bring the narcolists to the Ombudsman?

“If- and that’s a big if – by chance I accepted the offer and went to the Ombudsman, obviously I would just have been fooled, because Senator Trillanes knew that the narcolists had failed his vetting, but just the same, he still went on to recruit me and hid that fact from me just so that he would be able to recruit me.

“For what? For black propaganda? To create a huge media event at the Ombudsman in which media would scream to the whole world that the lawyer who filed the complaint with the ICC against President Duterte accompanied Advincula to the Ombudsman!

“Indeed, that would have been a spectacular event like Hollywood. I t would have also lent a heavy air of legal gravitas to the narcolists, as surely I would have gone the rounds in media in support of the cause celebre.

“Recruiting me to be a lawyer and later telling the public, under that all-too familiar poker face, that there was a vetting failure is a supreme act of deceit and dishonesty on the part of Senator Trillanes.

“I t was a dastardly act of betrayal of me, committed to exploit me as a lawyer in a desperate bid to enable him and his LP-led opposition to achieve their criminal intent to destabilize and ultimately to overthrow the Duterte administration.

“After much thought and reflection, I have come to the full realization that when Senator Trillanes recruited me as a lawyer culminating in that Novate! meeting on 29 April 2019, he undoubtedly made a tragic turnaround against me.


My article entitled ABYSS OF NO RETURN was supposed to be published in the Mindanao Goldstar Daily on 30 August 2019, but was postponed by the editor to 2 September 2019 for reasons only known to him. Meantime, or on 31 August 2019, Mike Navallo, an ABS CBN reporter and a lawyer, gave me an advance information about a summons issued by the Department of Justice in relation to a kidnapping case filed against me, Senator Trillanes and Fr. Alejo, and asked me for my statement.

Mr. Navallo informed me that the kidnapping case had been filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (“PNP-CIDG”) on behalf of Guillermina Barrido. Up until that time, I had no personal knowledge about that kidnapping case which had been filed early in August, or about a month before I made my article entitled ABYSS OF NO RETURN. In other words, my article had nothing to do with the kidnapping case of which I had no prior knowledge whatsoever.

For easy reference, I have taken the liberty to attach hereto my Counter-Affidavit as well as the Affidavit of my wife in the kidnapping case in the Department of Justice.

Ms. Barrido was the witness that Fr. Alejo and Senator Trillanes recruited way back in November 2016 supposedly to corroborate the testimony of Edgar Matobato. But after I arduously worked in November to December 2016 on her statement which reached 60 long pages in a draft Judicial Affidavit form in the Tagalog dialect, Fr. Alejo dumped her at the last minute in late December 2016 and early January 2017 due to specious, belated and unproven accusations of petty money issues, not to mention the surfacing of Arturo Lascanas that made Barrido of no use to Fr. Alejo.

Fr. Alejo’s dumping of her must have enraged Ms. Barrido who eventually turned around in retaliation by undertaking a live press conference in Davao on 5 April 2017 or before I personally went to the ICC, accusing Senator Trillanes, Fr. Alejo and me of coaching and prevailing upon her to execute an Affidavit against President Duterte purportedly in exchange of P1Million.

After Barrido’s live press conference in Davao in April 2017 as well as my live phone patch interview and that of Senator Trillanes, she never took legal action in the 2 years and 8 months that had elapsed. She never filed a criminal case for any felony, much less for kidnapping/serious illegal detention against me, Senator Trillanes and Fr. Alejo. I thought that the matter was already put to rest until I was surprised to know that Barrido thru the PNP ClDG filed the kidnapping charge with the Department of Justice in early August 2019.
To my mind, it was Senator Trillanes’ privilege speech in the Senate on 27 May 2019 that must have later given the PNP ClDG a perfect legal pretext to utilize Barrido as a complainant in the kidnapping case in or der to counter the assertion of Senator Trillanes that Advincula alias Bikoy and Barrido a re part of the same pattern of “tanim testigo” or planted witness. Since Senator Trillanes as early as April 2017 accused Barrido of being a planted witness in response to he r press conference, which he later repeated in his May 27, 2019 privilege speech, it beca me natural for Barrido to be personally hurt and feel the compelling need to retaliate and disprove the claim of Senator Trillanes.

In turn, since earlier the PNP ClDG ha d filed the Advincula sedition case in July 2019, the PNP ClDG saw the need to counter the adverse effect of the Senat or’s cla im against the Advincula sedition case, and thus found Barrido’s situation to be useful to blunt the edges of such a claim.

While Barrido hibernated for 2 yea r s and 8 months and felt no need to go to the PNP ClDG, the PNP ClDG suddenly must have reached out to her, even if in the meantime the PNP ClDG had found no use of her, or Barrido herself could have suddenly waken up and sought the assistance of the PNP ClDG. And yet, in the 2 years and 8 months that e lapsed, both Ba rrido and the PNP ClDG neve r acted on her supposed complaint.

While for 2 years and 8 months Barrido neve r filed a case, Senator Trillanes’ later privilege speech ca used a trigger for Barrido and PNP ClDG at my great persona l expense. As a consequence of the Bikoy cause celebre, I was unnecessarily dragged, albeit indirectly, into the controversy as colla te ra l damage, even if I am not involved at all and was never charged in that Bik oy ca per. In the aftermath of the Advincula sedition case, I am indirectly being dragged into the orbit of such controversy due to Senator Trillanes’ claim that Advincula and Barrido form the same pattern of being a planted witness.

In the ultimate ana lysis, without the emergence of the Bikoy cause celebre which culminated ed in the filing of the sedition charge in July 2019 against Senator Trillanes, Senator de Lima, Fr. Alejo, Vice President Lenny Robredo and other high profile opposition personalities, including some lawyers as well as the heads of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Barrido case would not have been resurrected and filed by the PNP ClDG, and I would not have been dragged and exposed to a serious risk on my personal liberty.

Ironically and very sadly, due to the misadventure of Senator Trillanes and Fr. Alejo on whom the blame for the Bikoy fiasco is to be directly laid, along with their co-conspirators, I am being charged in the kidnapping case that is being linked both by Senator Trillanes and the PNP ClDG to the Advincula sedition case in support of their respective contentions in relation thereto, even I am not involved at all in and was not charged in said Bikoy fiasco.

Thus, it pains me to think that while I heaved a huge sigh of relief when the Court of Appeals voided last 29 March 2019 the egregious arrest warrant earlier issued erroneously by a judge based on my MCLE deficiency, it was short-lived, as it would be followed later by the PNP ClDG’s move to resurrect the Barrido complaint only because of the misadventure of Senator Trillanes and Fr. Alejo in the Bikoy fiasco.

As things stand now, based on my revelation in my article ABYSS OF NO RETURN, the Office of the Solicitor General had attempted to introduce such article as evidence in the sedition case to prove Senator Trillanes’ direct involvement in the Bikoy seditious conspiracy. But it was rebuffed by the investigating panel, because the Solicitor General had earlier agreed to close the case for resolution. Meantime, media reports came out about my willingness to testify in the sedition case if a subpoena would be issued against me.

As of now, the sedition case is still pending for resolution; it remains to be seen what the outcome would be. But it is already clear that Senator Trillanes and I are at loggerheads in said case; and if a case for sedition is eventually filed in court and a subpoena is issued to me, chances are that I would have to testify in the interest of truth. In a conflict between truth and Senator Trillanes, I will have to side with the truth.

The effect on me of this kidnaping case extends to my wife Jo ann A. Fortich. A very private person who shuns people and publicity, she was forced to execute and subscribe to her Affidavit in the Department of Justice in order to prove my innocence as a lawyer who just did my legal work for Guillermina Barrido as a potential witness against President Duterte.

It is too much already for me that my wife has to be affected personally. While Senator Trillanes and his LP-led opposition group had sent feelers before to patch things up with me, they had no intention whatsoever to patch up with my wife, ma king it impossible for the situation to be settled. This adverse effect on my wife is utterly unacceptable to me and marks a point of no return.


When the Bikoy scandal erupted, I became highly skeptical about Senator Trillanes and his group. It appeared to me that he, F r. Alejo, Senator de Lima and the rest of the LP-Ied group would stop at nothing and had no qualms in using lies and falsehoods just to undermine, destroy and topple the Duterte administration in order to pave the way for Vice President Robredo to take over.

The Bikoy scanda l proved that they are motivated by nothing but sheer politics, not justice. However, politics has never been my paramount motivation in my ICC submission, as it was meant instead to achieve justice. Due to the Bikoy political scandal, I began to seriously question the legitimacy of their advocacy against extra judicia l killings in the war on drugs which they are just using for political propaganda as part of their political agenda against President Duterte.

Their hypocrisy was demonstrated by the fact that there is no proof at all about the so-called “Totoong Narcolists”. In my public writings in the immediate aftermath of the Bikoy scandal, I challenged Senator Trillanes and Fr. Alejo to demonstrate the truth of the so-called “Totoong Narcolists”. I published this public challenge to them thru my article “NO TRUTH TO TOTOONG NARCOLISTS” in the Mindana o Goldstar Daily which ca n be viewed online. But up to now, no such demonstration has been made in public. I a m reproducing and adopting verbatim my Mindanao Golds tar article, to wit:


“Even if Senator Trillanes, together with Senator de Lima, and I are of the same personal conviction in the ICC case, it does not automatIcally mean that, when Senator Trillanes recruited me as Lawyer for Advincula alias Bikoy, I would just have blindly relied ed on his word that the Totoong Narcolists are true.

“Senator Trillanes is in a state of contradiction. In his Senate privilege speech not long after Advincula made a turnaround, he lamented that the Totoong Narcolist videos were produced without awaiting the result of a vetting process. He further said that the results of such vetting would just be announced later in public.

“However, up to now, there has been no public announcement yet as to the vetting result.
It follows that no reliable conclusion can still be made about the truth or falsity of the Totoong Narcolists. This contradicts the Senator’s recent televised statement that the Totoong Narcolists did not pass the vetting process, which necessarily implies that vetting has already been finished.

“In any event, in the interest of the truth which shall set us free, I am calling on the former Senator to stand by what he boasted in his Senate privilege speech to be his “track record”. If his “track record” means his fidelity to the truth, then by all means he should demonstrate the truth of the Totoong Narcolists.

“Former Senator Trillanes should prove the drug links of those cited in the Totoong Narcolists, because I for one am very much interested in such revelation, given the earlier relevant statement of Mina Arci llas to me reduced into the 60-page draft Judicial Affidavit.
Otherwise, he will fall into the abyss with no hope of coming back.

“Come to think of it, the turnaround of Bikoy is of no moment, because the former Senator claimed that those Totoong Narcolists had come from two different persons whose names he cited in his privilege speech.

“The former Senator owes the truth ultimately to the whole country and to God to whom we subscribe an oath whenever we testify to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He must present those persons.

“However, I am saddened to know from my former UP criminal law professor, whom I met recently by chance, that there is no proof about the truth of the Totoong Narcolists.

“My former professor is still vivid in memory, unlike my other professors who fade in my memory by the long passage of 25 years. This is because of my innate, strong interest in criminal law which made it almost second nature for me to lawyer for Edgar Matobato and in the ICC case in a criminal law controversy involving mass murder.

“Having read, as he said, my recent published writings on the Totoong Narcolists, my former UP law professor volunteered the information that he was asked by a priest, who is closely linked to the cause celebre, to assess the so-called Totoong Narcolists, but he reacted negatively saying that an assessment would not serve any legal purpose anymore because the videos had already come out.

“But what is more significant about what he said as a reliable insider is that there is no proof at all about the truth of the Totoong Narcolists. He based his observation on Senator Lacson’s publicized claim that police operatives were behind the reported statement of Advincula in 2016 which was publicly debunked by Senator Sotto. According to my former law professor, the same could also be true for the current Totoong Narcolists.

“To further buttress the reliability of his claim, he adverted to the fact that he was the one who had earlier detected the falsity of whistleblower Ador Mawanay who, as a result, later made a turnaround by retracting his adverse testimony against Senator Ping Lacson.

“I have a very high regard for my criminal law professor who is my idol. Modesty aside, I al ways topped the examinations in the two criminal law subjects that he handled. He also happens to be one of the panel of judges who chose me as part of the 4-member team of the UP College of Law represent in g the Philippines in a Southeast Asian debating tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1992, where our team emerged as Champ ion for the first time.

To be continued

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