During the House committee on justice’s inquiry on Tuesday, September 20, into the alleged proliferation of illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II presented several witnesses. These include Herbert Colangco, one of the high profile NBP inmates convicted for kidnapping and robbery; Rodolfo Magleo, a former police chief inspector convicted for kidnapping; and Jovencio Ablen Jr. from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
In his Facebook post “What A Joke!,” Fr. Ranhilio Aquino said that Senator Leila de Lima’s witness, Edgar Matobato, was more credible than Magleo. He added that Magleo as a “rehearsed witness.”
“Aguirre presented Magleo to much fanfare thinking that his witness was a bombshell on de Lima? Matobato was more credible than Magleo. In his surfeit of confidence, he sounded every inch a coached and rehearsed witness: He had the answers even before the questions were completed, he volunteered what was not asked, when Aguirre forgot part of the script, Magleo asked for permission to fill in the blanks, and Magleo successfully blurred the essential lines between personal knowledge, hearsay, conjecture and conclusion,” Aquino said.
He also said that one lesson to obtain from the House inquiry is that Aguirre needed a “more competent script-writer.”
“ANOTHER important lesson learned: [Rep. Reynaldo] Umali, a lawyer, does not know how to ask questions, so he let Aguirre — who is neither a congressman nor a member of the committee – do the questioning. If Magleo is typical of the witnesses that Aguirre intends to present, I strongly suggest the services of a more competent script-writer,” Aquino added.
Aguirre, on his part, has denied allegations about the testimonies of his witnesses being rehearsed.
“Hindi po ako nag-rehearse ng witness at kung rehearsed man iyan, ang sasabihin ko lang sa kaniya, magsabi siya ng katotohanan,” Aguirre told the House justice committee which is conducting the investigation.
He also said that he only suggested to the witnesses’ lawyers to have the witnesses give a hand-written statement and take a video while taking their statement. He added that he did not know, though, if the lawyers followed his advice.