Aguirre stands by order to probe opposition; ready for Senate grilling | Inquirer News

Aguirre stands by order to probe opposition; ready for Senate grilling

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:06 PM June 11, 2017

vitaliano aguirre

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

It’s my responsibility.



Undismayed by criticisms, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday stood firm on his order to investigate the purported role of opposition lawmakers in the terrorist attack in Marawi City in a bid to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte. 



This despite backpedalling on his earlier claim that Sen. Bam Aquino attended a meeting with fellow opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and two “Moro families” a few weeks before the Maute group rampaged through Marawi on May 23.


The embattled justice secretary said he was ready to be grilled in the Senate after Sen. Grace Poe moved for a congressional inquiry into the proliferation of erroneous information in social media, more known as “fake news.”  


“It’s my duty (as justice secretary) under the law. I will (be) remiss in my duty if I have not done that,” Aguirre said in a text message to the Inquirer.



Asked if he would attend the Senate inquiry, he replied: “Of course.”


Aguirre stirred up a hornet’s nest after he told a news briefing last week that Aquino and Trillanes joined Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, one of Duterte’s critics, and Ronald Llamas, a political adviser of former President Benigno Aquino III, in a meeting with members of the Lucman and Alonto clans in Marawi on May 2.


Senator Aquino said Aguirre had already phoned him up to apologize, claiming the media had “misquoted” him. He said Aguirre also promised to issue a public apology, which he has yet to do.


The justice secretary claimed the opposition leaders flew to Marawi and met with members of the two influential political clans at Lake View Resort Hotel.


“I don’t know why after they went there, the violence broke out after about two weeks,” Aguirre had said.


Asked if Maute members were also at the meeting, he said: “I don’t know. I was told that they met with several families there, including the Lucmans, along with the Alonto family.”


To back up his claim, he showed a photo on his mobile phone of the alleged meeting to the media.


Aguirre was apparently oblivious that the photo has been circulating in pro-Duterte blogs and a Facebook fan page to link the opposition lawmakers to the Islamic State-allied Maute group.


After his remarks created a firestorm of criticisms, Aguirre took back his words and passed the blame on the media.


“I’m not spreading fake news. The photo did not come from me,” Aguirre said. “The information was just given to me and I am having it investigated.”/rga


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