‘Bikoy’ IBP presscon can only be staged with blessings of NCLA: Davao Lawyer

Monday’s press conference of the self-proclaimed ‘Bikoy’ at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) headquarters may have been allowed by some high ranking officer of the National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA).

This was the impression of Davao City lawyer lawyer Caesar Europa Jr., Ateneo de Davao University College of Law professor and former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City president.

“Considering that the IBP Board of Governors has already denied having allowed the press conference of Bikoy on IBP premises, it stands to reason that some high ranking officer of the National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA) allowed it,” Europa told Edge Davao in an interview.

Europa, owner of the EDC Law Firm and IBP Regional Governor for Eastern Mindanao from 2015-2017, said: “Whoever that person may be should accept responsibility for it and explain how, and why it happened.”

On Wednesday, the IBP rejected the request for legal aid of Peter Joemel Advincula who introduced himself as “Bikoy”, a hooded figure who linked President Rodrigo Duterte’s family to the narcotics trade in several viral videos. 

“While it is true that there is indeed an evaluation process for all applicants for legal aid assistance, even at local IBP chapters, it should have been denied immediately when the political propaganda intentions of the applicant became apparent and, certainly, the press conference should not have been allowed pending the evaluation,” Europa said.

Rizal Memorial Colleges School of Law Dean lawyer Ramon Edison Batacan also expressed his adherence to the IBP National Chapter’s decision.

In a separate interview, Batacan said: “The denial was proper, Bikoy does not deserve a representation from the IBP. “

According to Batacan, Advincula’s motive is malicious and he is known to be  a perjured witness.

The IBP decision was signed by IBP National President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo and released on Wednesday.

The organization rejected Advincula’s request after a thorough evaluation of his application by the NCLA, Fajardo said in a statement. 

“In the pursuit of its mandate to provide access to justice to the poor and the marginalized, the IBP cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party,” said Fajardo.