Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II named former senator Jamby Madrigal and Biñan City Rep. Marlyn “Len” Alonte-Naguiat as the people behind the P100-million bribe to the high profile inmates to retract their testimonies against Senator Leila De Lima.
He also said the inmates were told do the retraction before the EDSA anniversary, but the inmates rejected the offer.
Aguirre said that Madrigal asked Lalaine Madrigal Martinez, whom he said was the former senator’s cousin, to help Alonte communicate with the inmates.
Lalaine is Noel Martinez’ wife, one of the “Bilibid 19” inmates who testified against De Lima.
However, former senator Madrigal denied bribing high-profile inmates with P100 million or even knowing Lalaine.
“Hindi ko siya (Lalaine) kilala at lalong hindi totoong kinausap ko siya paa mag-alok ng anuman. ‘Kuryente’ ang impormasyong pinagkakalat ni Aguirre,” Madrigal said.
“I hope Secretary Aguirre isn’t losing his marbles. The head of the Department of Justice is supposed to be ensuring not just the rule of law, but sobriety in its application. He is not supposed to be in the business of peddling conspiracy theories, much less engaging in character assassination,” she added.
Since her failed bid to get elected in 2013, Madrigal has led a “quiet citizen” life and has no interest of getting involved in De Lima’s issues. She also said that she is expecting an apology from Aguirre for “maliciously” tagging her in bribery.
Lawmaker denied bribing inmates
Alonte also denied that she ever tried to offer P100 million to the inmates to retract their testimonies against De Lima.
The lawmaker said she was “surprised” by Aguirre’s allegation, adding that she does not know any of the inmates.
“Wala po akong kakilala sa kahit sino sa mga inmates na ‘yan. Hindi po ako tumawag hindi po ako nakisali sa ganoong gawain,” Alonte said.
Alonte admitted to being close to Kris Aquino, but said that she only got acquainted with De Lima through Liberal Party. She said that she only get a text from De Lima once during her birthday “but that’s just it.”
The Laguna lawmaker also said that she is not close to Madrigal.
“How can I be close to Senator Jamby when she fought against the cityhood of Biñan in the Senate?” Alonte said.
Moreover, Alonte is now a PDP-Laban member, the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte. She ran and won as Laguna representative under LP, but joined PDP-Laban after the 2016 elections.
Alonte said “it’s unfair” that she became the subject of such an allegation and “felt bad” that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wanted to launch a probe into her alleged involvement in the bribery.
“I think it’s unfair but at the end of the day, my conscience is clear and I am on the side of the truth. (Nevertheless) I still deserve an apology,” she said.
Alonte also said that as a PDP-Laban member, she would not do anything to ruin her own political party.
“I will talk to the leadership of PDP-Laban, nagulat talaga ako sa news today. Wala po akong kinontak, I will call the Speaker and ask for their guidance and help. Nasira ang aking pangalan at bayan dahil sa hearsay. Nirerespeto ko na imbestigasyon ito ng DOJ pero sana respetuhin din nila ako,” she said in an interview with dzMM’s Ted Failon.
“PDP-Laban member ako, di ko sisirain ang pangalan ng partido pati pangalan ko,” Alonte added.
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