Aside from being labeled the ‘Fake News King,’ PH magazine lists down Justice Secretary Aguirre’s lapses

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II was slammed a few months ago for falling for “fake news” as he tried to link opposition lawmakers to the Maute attacks in Marawi City using a 2015 photo. Now, he is in the hot seat for downplaying the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, for saying that the boy’s death was “blown out of proportion” by the media.
On August 23, he told the Congress during a briefing for the 2018 DOJ budget, “Blown out of proportion in the media kaya akala mo napakalaki. Isa lang siya sa thousands na png-aabuso ng pulis kung talagang may pang-aabuso.”

He also questioned the lack of public outcry from human rights groups over the death of the victims in the Bulacan massacre and said, “Para bang hindi pantay, ano ang diperensya ng mga pinatay na bata ng adik sa mga pinatay na bata ng mga pulis?”

Aguirre trended on Twitter in the evening of August 24 for his statements involving Kian’s case, with netizens slamming Aguirre over those statements.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II

This is not the first time Aguirre received a backlash for his pronouncements. He was even tagged as “fake news king” and had a complaint filed against him for making false accusations before, especially at the opposition.

FHM Philippines magazine pointed out several instances where Aguirre committed lapses, including the following:

  1. Aguirre threatening to show De Lima’s sex scandal

FHM took note of the heated exchange between Aguirre and former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima when they faced off at a Senate hearing.

Meme Buster would like to add that Aguirre also threatened to show De Lima’s ‘sex videos’ to establish her supposed link to the Bilibid drug trade, although he later withdrew that threat.

In trying to gather evidence to prove that De Lima received millions from drug lords, DOJ staff Edna “Bogs” Obuyes, who served under De Lima confessed to being forced to sign an affidavit against the senator. Obuyes also pointed out how the bank receipts bore her nickname instead of her full name, making them questionable proof.

It was also later found out that another former De Lima staff, Jonathan Caranto, does not own the BDO account with an alleged P24 million deposit that was linked to De Lima and the drug money.

  1. Aguirre jokingly asking crowd who to send to jail next

When De Lima was incarcerated in February, Aguirre asked the crowd during a pro-Duterte rally who they wanted to nab next, to which the crowd answered, “Trillanes.”

Senator Grace Poe likened Aguirre to a “perya barker” for agitating the President’s supporters.

Trillanes also compared Aguirre to Pontius Pilate.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also urged the Justice Secretary to differentiate prosecution from persecution.

After the backlash he received, Aguirre passed his actuations as a “joke,” apologized for what he did, and promised to be “more tactful in the future.”

  1. Aguirre reacting to #LeniLeaks, accusing Robredo of staying at Lewis’ home in the US

He said in January that he heard about Robredo staying overnight at the home of Fil-Am billionaire Loida Nicolas-Lewis during the former’s holiday in the US. However, the Vice President denied it and wondered why Aguirre would lie when he is the Justice Secretary. Robredo added that she did not meet or even talked over the phone with Lewis when she visited America.

However, Aguirre told reporters that he stood by what he heard about Robredo’s stay at Lewis’ home.

  1. Aguirre claiming a Bilibid prisoner’s wife was ambushed

Despite not having any police report of the incident, Aguirre claimed and insisted that the wife of a Bilibid inmate Lalaine Madrigal-Martinez was ambushed on February 24, something that the Makati Police denied. Martinez is also his informant in the P100-million bribe attempt on high-profile inmates against Senator de Lima.

Martinez’ ambush supposedly happened a day after Aguirre revealed that former Senator Jamby Madrigal and Laguna Rep. Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat tried to offer P100 million for Bilibid inmates to retract their testimonies against de Lima. Madrigal and Alonte both denied Aguirre’s claims, with Madrigal asking for an apology from him and threatening him with legal action.

However, Martinez retracted all her stories about the bribery and the ambush in March. She said that she told Aguirre over the phone that she was ambushed because she was frightened after being shot at, adding that it she might have been hit by a stray bullet.

  1. Aguirre claiming ‘Korean mafia’ could be responsible for Korean national’s death

The Justice Secretary urged authorities at a Senate inquiry on February 23 to investigate the alleged involvement of the Korean mafia in the slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, adding that some people from the South Korean embassy might also be involved.

The Korean embassy hit Aguirre for making “misleading claims” that tarnished the reputation of Korean diplomats. Their official statement also clarified that Jee did not have any connection with “any malicious Korean persons,” shutting down Aguirre’s claims of a Korean mafia’s role in the Korean businessman’s death.

It was also in February that journalist Ellen Tordesillas wrote an article calling Aguirre’s a “kuryente king” for these blunders involving the ambush, the P100-million bribery, and the Korean mafia. Rappler also wrote “Does Justice Secretary Aguirre believe in fake news?” after making “unsubstantiated” pronouncements in public involving the same issues.

  1. Aguirre accusing Pangilinan, de Lima of plotting to link him to P50M Immigration bribery scandal

In January, Aguirre revealed that Senators de Lima, Kiko Pangilinan, and Trillanes were plotting to link him to the P50-million bribery and extortion scandal involving immigration officials as payback for his probe into de Lima’s alleged links to the drug trade. De Lima authored a Senate resolution to investigate the allegations that gambling tycoon Jack Lam tried to bribe Aguirre and other immigration officials to release Lam’s over 1,300 undocumented workers.

However, Aguirre later acknowledged his “error” and apologized to Pangilinan, clearing the senator of any involvement in the plot charge against him. He also apologized to de Lima and Trillanes but the apology did not come as readily. It was noted that Aguirre’s apology was on January 31 while he was set to face the Commission on Appointments on February 1, of which Pangilinan is a member.

  1. Aguirre making fake claims against opposition lawmakers

Aguirre pointed fingers at Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and former PNoy political adviser Ronald Llamas, as well as the Marawi clans Alontos and Lucmans, for meeting in Marawi City on May 2 a few weeks before the Marawi siege. He said it could be a part of a destabilization plot against the current administration.

Aquino released a statement defending his recent visit to Marawi, which was for Go Negosyo. DTI defended Aquino amid the issues linking him to the Marawi crisis.

As for going to Marawi on May 2, Aquino, Trillanes, and Alejano denied it, saying that anyone can check their attendance at the Senate and House sessions during the said date.

Aguirre ended up apologizing to the Marawi clans and Aquino later revealed that Aguirre apologized to him and said that he was “confused” over the reports that he was getting. Aquino said that he was waiting for a clarification and a public apology from Aguirre. The Justice Secretary cleared Aquino from any links to the Marawi crisis but he did not issue a public apology.

Citing these events, Senator Risa Hontiveros called Aguirre the “fake news king.”

Senator Poe compared Aguirre to a “troll” for spreading fake news about the opposition.

Youth groups also filed an ethics complaint in July against the Justice Secretary for allegedly spreading fake news, causing the hashtag #FakeNewsKing to then trend on Twitter.

With that, FHM Philippines noted how Aguirre, given his role as the justice secretary, should have exhibited neutrality in handling matters.

  1. Aguirre passing the blame to the media

The Justice Secretary was caught lying about being misquoted by the media about his claim linking opposition lawmakers to the Marawi siege using an old photo. The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) said that they refused to be Aguirre’s scapegoats and stood by their reports as they had his statements recorded on audio and video. They called him a “mean-spirited coward.”

He rejected the Fake News King title and once again blamed the media for twisting facts during his press briefing, adding that he always warned them he was only discussing “raw intelligence report” that still needed validation.

After Aguirre’s consecutive blunders in June involving his fake claims against Aquino and other opposition lawmakers, Malacañang said that the Justice Secretary still enjoys Duterte’s “full trust,” describing Aguirre’s allegations as “speculation.”

With Aguirre’s recent “one sided” remarks regarding Kian’s case, Hontiveros asked him to inhibit himself from the probe into the 17-year-old boy’s death.

Sources: ( , , )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kian Lloyd delos Santos

Man falsely accused as cop who killed Kian filed a complaint against netizen who misused his photo

Busted: Duterte rejected Robredo’s intent to be next DSWD chief? It’s not true at all!