#FakeNewsKing trends as youth groups file ethics complaint vs. Aguirre

The hashtag #FakeNewsKing trended on Twitter in the afternoon of July 5 after news broke that youth groups filed an ethics complaint against Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for allegedly spreading fake news.

Millennials Against Dictators, Akbayan Youth, and other youth groups filed an administrative complaint against Aguirre at the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly violating R.A. 6713 or th Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
They sued Aguirre for spreading fake information when he accused opposition lawmakers Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino, Congressman Gary Alejano, and former political adviser to Aquino Ronald Llamas of visiting Marawi City before the Maute Group attacked the city. However, it turned out that Aguirre used a 2015 photo of the lawmakers.

After getting bashed for using an old photo to support his allegation, Aguirre defended himself, saying that he was misquoted by the media. But the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) refuted Aguirre’s claim, saying that he lied and that everything he said was “recorded on video and audio.”

Akbayan Youth Secretary General Shamah Bulangis called Aguirre the “fake news king.”

“‘Fake news king’ po ang tawag namin kay Vitaliano Aguirre dahil po nagiging paktorya ng fake news ang secretary of justice natin. Naniniwala kami na ang pundasyon ng hustisya ang katotoohan,” Bulangis said.

“Naniniwala kami na ang pundasyon ng hustisya ay ang katotohanan….Isa sa mga gusto naming mangyari ay matanggal siya sa posisyon dahil hindi niya deserve and posisyon na yon,” she added.

Millennials Against Dictator’s Karla Yu slammed Aguirre’s “misuse and abuse of power” by using his office to spread fake information.
“”In this day and age where fake news is rampant, there are fake sites on social media, we believe that it is a misuse of public office to actually spread misinformation. Our public servants must be held to higher ethical standards,” Yu said.

“If he resigns, that’s very good, that’s delicadeza, but our strongest position would be for the President to actually take him out of office,” she added.

Yu also hit PCOO Asec. Margaux “Mocha” Uson, urging those who want to file a similar case against her to do so.

“Asec. Mocha should also be held at the same standard. If there are those who want to file a case against her, then we highly encourage that as well.” Yu said.

According to the complaint filed by the youth groups, Aguirre violated RA 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 stated.

They also addressed Aguirre’s refusal to issue an apology for making 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 read.

The other instances cited by the group that showed Aguirre making false allegations include the following:

  • Aguirre claimed a drug convict’s wife, Lalaine Madrigal Martinez, was ambushed but the Makati City Police chief denied it.
  • Aguirre implicated former Senator Jamby Madrigal and Biñan City Rep. Marlyn Alonte for bribing the Bilibid convicts, but both denied the allegation.
  • Aguirre claimed the Korean mafia was behind the kidnapping and murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, who was later found out to have been murdered by rouge cops at Camp Crame. He later alleged in a Senate hearing that the Korean embassy is compromised by the mafia, but the embassy denied it and slammed Aguirre for making “misleading statements.

Other complainants in the case are Anna Mercaldi of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Andrei Buendia of the Ateneo Debate Society, Julie Corridor of UP Diliman University Student Council, Fatima Tolentino and Nikki Nicolas of the San Beda College of Law Student Government, sociology student Rae Emmanuel Echaveria and Jonna Roldan of the De La Salle University-Manila.

Twitterverse reacts

On Twitter, there were a lot of reactions from the users as #FakeNewsKing trended at the number one spot.


Someone even used Aguirre in what can be considered as her liar meter.

And she made a series of tweets, too.

Someone called Aguirre the “most prolific Pinoy inventor of the year.”

Memes are, of course, present.

Here are other Twitter users’ reactions:

Sources: ( , , , )

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