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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: ( , , )



Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( )


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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( )


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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( , )


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