The Philippine Star : NBI confirms surrender of TikToker in supposed 'kill' plot vs Marcos

9 February 2022

By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 4:32 p.m.) — The TikTok user who supposedly is part of an assassination plot against presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has surrendered to authorities, the National Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday after the campaign's spokesperson announced it on TV.

NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin confirmed this in a message to reporters. "Still awaiting for details," he added.

No complaint has been filed yet over the alleged kill plot, and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified that the person is not under arrest. “I think he went to the NBI to give his side,” he told reporters in a separate message.

Citing security reasons, the DOJ chief also refused to divulge more details on the "surrender," including whether the person has went back home or remains at the NBI. 

"He was advised to secure the assistance of counsel," the DOJ chief said, adding that he has advised the NBI to "respect the rights of the subject."

NBI presents ‘person of interest’

While Guevarra was tight-lipped on details on social media user who presented himself to the authorities, the NBI on Wednesday afternoon held a press conference that the supposed Tiktok user and his lawyers attended.

The man was wearing a mask and cap, but he was asked to remove his cap during the conference, streamed on the NBI Facebook page.

Lavin said: "He came to the NBI on his own free will. He is voluntarily giving his statement…. [he] made that clear he wants to secure his person and wanted to cooperate."

The man denied that he posted the comment on a separate TikTok video about the supposed assassination plot and claimed that another person just used his name and photo.

NBI Deputy Director Vicente De Guzman III added: “We are just starting to investigate. [He] is saying that he is not that person and the TikTok account was just made up. As soon as we determine the criminal liability, we will definitely file [raps].”

In the past, the NBI has presented to media a teacher they arrested without warrant over a tweet offering bounty for President Rodrigo Duterte’s killing, but courts cleared the respondent and ruled that the arrest was illegal.

Marcos team wants to know extent of supposed plot

Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesperson, told ANC’s "Headstart" on Wednesday that he was informed by the NBI that the person who posted the comment claiming daily meetings on the supposed assassination plot has come to them.

"I was just on the phone this morning with [NBI] Deputy Director [Vicente] De Guzman. Sumuko na sa kanila yung taong nag-post ng death threat na ‘yan kahapon," he said.

(I was just on the phone this morning with De Guzman. That person who posted the death threat surrendered to them yesterday.)

Rodriguez said he has yet to go to the NBI office, but he stressed that more than "depth or seriousness" of the threat, they want to know how "extensive" the supposed kill plot is.

Law enforcement agencies have yet to make a determination on whether the supposed threat is credible.

"Nakakailang exchanges na sila, sino-sino pa yung kinakausap, ano yung level or degree of seriousness," Rodriguez said.

(How many exchanges have they had, who else are they talking to, what is the level or degree of seriousness.)

The Department of Justice on January 30 confirmed that its Office of Cybercrime received a report of a supposed kill plot against Marcos. This is based on a comment on TikTok that read: “Nagmemeeting kami araw-araw para paghandaang ipa aasassinate namin si BBM humanda kayo.”

(We are meeting daily to prepare to assasinate BBM, be prepared)

Lawyer Charito Zamora, officer-in-charge of DOJ OOC, explained that their standard procedure is to "look into every report or complaint whether the same is actionable or not."

In this case, the cybercrime office merely "proceeded in such a way that would keep the integrity and availability of the computer data," she said.

"We do not categorically say that the same is credible, instead we acted promptly to ensure that there will be available electronic leads," she added.

Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, kicked off their UniTeam campaign at the Philippine Arena on Tuesday.