Robredo slams Aguirre for using fake news on Marawi conflict
TAYSAN, Batangas — Vice President Leni Robredo took a rare potshot at a member of President Duterte’s Cabinet on Tuesday, calling out Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre for spreading fake news and eroding the public’s trust in his department.
Elaborating on her Independence Day speech in which she warned of “weakening democratic institutions,” Robredo alluded to Aguirre’s recent media blunder when he used an old photograph to try to link opposition lawmakers to the terrorist siege of Marawi City.
“We have a Department of Justice whose head is saying things that are not true. I think it’s scary because it’s the Department of Justice that is supposed to lead in making sure justice will prevail over all of us,” she told reporters here.
“If he tells false things, the people’s trust in the institution is lost — not only in him but the institution,” said the former Camarines Sur congresswoman.
In making her point that democratic institutions were under threat, Robredo also made a vague reference to the President’s own propensity to challenge the co-equal branches of the executive.
“Lately, we hear a lot of [officials] challenging the powers of each other. We hear things like, ‘I won’t listen to this or that.’ I think that’s scary,” she said.
In May, Mr. Duterte said he would not listen to the Supreme Court or Congress on the implementation of martial law in Mindanao even though both enjoyed a constitutional mandate to review his actions.
But last week, he backtracked, saying he would respect the Supreme Court’s decision on martial law.
Robredo said she found it “scary” that “when government agencies or government instrumentalities don’t believe in what’s written in the Constitution.”
“It’s democracy itself that is being challenged,” she said.
Robredo, the nominal leader of the Liberal Party who left Mr. Duterte’s Cabinet as housing secretary in December, said the nation has been facing too many troubles at present for its officials to be so preoccupied with politics
“Now is not the time to talk of politics. It is not the time to be talking about whether one is my ally or not, or whether our politics is the same or not. We should be guarding democracy and all the institutions,” she said.
On her own role as an opposition figure, Robredo said she was not the type to oppose everything the administration would do or say.
“I don’t see myself as an opposition to all the policies of the government, because I always say we need to be supportive of the administration because that’s what the times call for,” she said.
“But on things I don’t agree with. I also need to give voice to my concerns. I think this is the more important partnership. This is the more important role I should play,” Robredo said. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.