Was Aguirre involved in P50-M extortion?
Lawyer Alberto Argosino, retired clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court of Gumaca, Quezon province, died in June unable to bear the shame that his son, former Deputy Immigration Commissioner Al Argosino, brought on the family.
The younger Argosino and Michael Robles, another deputy immigration commissioner, were dismissed from the service for allegedly extorting P50 million from Chinese casino mogul Jack Lam, an act that was caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera.
People in Lopez town, where the Argosinos are from, say Al told his father he was just following orders from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
“Napag-utusan lang ni SOJ si Al na makipag-usap kay Jack Lam (Al was just following orders from the secretary of justice to make a deal with Jack Lam),” a Gumaca resident told this columnist.
The statement seems to jibe with what Department of Justice insiders have told me: Argosino and Robles were charged with the lesser offense of graft and direct bribery, instead of plunder, because the two might start “talking.”
A text message supposedly sent by Argosino to a certain “Gen” is the most telling about Secretary Aguirre’s knowledge of the P50-million extortion.
The text message read: “Gen, good evening. Nag-usap na kami ni Supremo (I talked with Supremo). They will help. We are now leaving the place of meeting to go to your place to get the money. Pina-safe keep muna nina SOJ (underscoring supplied). Can we get it tonight? Thank you.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, all President Digong has to do is to have the authenticity of the text message investigated.
Chief Insp. Gideon Ines, commander of Police Community Precinct 10 in Makati City, mistook Christian Manlolo for a drug user and shot him in the back, seriously wounding the 29-year-old jobless man.
To cover his mistake, Ines filed charges of direct assault and attempted murder against Manlolo.
Not content with what he did to Manlolo, Ines had the victim chained to his hospital bed.
Ines removed the chain only after I remonstrated with him.
Manlolo’s neighbors and bystanders told my “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” program that the police official “planted” illegal drugs and a revolver on the prostrate victim after shooting him.
I have never been anybody’s propagandist although I sometimes sound like one because of my fervent advocacy or stand on certain issues.
Columnists or opinion writers should be given much leeway in the fervor of their stand or advocacy.
If I sounded like a propagandist for then candidate Rodrigo Duterte, which Inquirer editors seem to imply, then I plead guilty.
If I sounded like a propagandist for Hubert Webb, who was charged along with several others for the 1991 Vizconde massacre, I also plead guilty.
However, I believe that columnists or opinion writers should be given much leeway in expressing their stand on certain issues or their bias towards certain individuals or institutions.
That’s what opinions are for.
By the way, in both cases—my stand on Duterte and on Webb—I was eventually proved right.
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