Aguirre: I have never been a 'fake news king' | Inquirer News

Aguirre: I have never been a ‘fake news king’

/ 04:22 PM July 10, 2017

Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

“I have never been a fake news king,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday when asked to comment on the administrative complaint filed against him by youth groups for breach of the code of ethical conduct for allegedly using his position to spread fake news.

The complaint for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees has been filed by Akbayan Youth, Millennials Against Dictators, and other youth groups.


The youth groups sued Aguirre for spreading misinformation when the latter accused opposition lawmakers Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Gary Alejano and former political adviser Ronald Llamas for visiting Marawi City before the Maute group’s attack, implying an alleged destabilization plot.


READ: Complaint filed vs Aguirre over ‘fake news’

Aguirre has shown a photo of the senators meeting which turned out to have been taken September 2015.

In his recent interview, Aguirre said this is a small issue “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

“First of all, that is not fake news. It is a raw intelligence report and I made clear to the media, to all of you (referring to the reporters talking to him) [that] this is mere intelligence report. I have to validate it. I do not want to make speculation,” Aguirre said.

He again blamed the media for twisting the facts that he has said at a press conference.

“You [referring to the media] are the ones who failed to state the truth. You failed to say [in your reports] that I have a precaution that this is only an intelligence report and I have to validate it,” Aguirre said.


Millenials Against Dictators convenor Karla Yu called out Aguirre’s “misuse and abuse of power” by using his department to spread misinformation.

Yu urged others to take a stance against Aguirre and other public officials who may be involved in spreading fake news.

The groups filed the administrative complaint against Aguirre for violating Section 4 of Republic Act 6713 “when he repeatedly made unsubstantiated public accusations and allegations thus failing to discharge his duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.”

“Respondent made serious allegations that warranted careful scrutiny over the facts and evidences at hand… Respondent’s flipflopping statements regarding his accusations cast doubt as to his competence as Justice Secretary when the three public officials he accused claimed that their whereabouts were easily verifiable through public records,” the complaint read, referring to the unverified Marawi meeting allegedly involving opposition lawmakers.

The complainants also slammed Aguirre’s refusal to apologize for his unverified allegations.

“Respondent’s fault however does not end at skirting his duties as Justice Secretary and misleading the public with his outright lies. His refusal to publicly apologize for his actions amount to conduct unbecoming of a public officer and clearly indicate his lack of probity and accountability,” the complaint stated.

The groups also accused Aguirre of violating Section 1 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution “when he refused to take responsibility for his actions as Secretary of Justice despite publicly making fake and misleading accusations and allegations.”

The complainants said Aguirre is unfit for public office for his “propensity” to spread misinformation.

“Respondent’s propensity to make unsubstantiated and even fabricated allegations render him unfit for public office since continued actions erode public trust in government and more particularly in our justice system,” the complaint stated.

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Other instances cited by the complaint include the unverified allegations in the DOJ’s probe on the Bilibid drug trade and that a Korean mafia is supposedly involved in the death of businessman Jee Ick-joo. JE/rga

TAGS: Aguirre, complaint, fake news

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