Aguirre faces raps over fake news » Manila Bulletin News

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By Czarina Nicole Ong

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is facing breach of conduct raps before the Office of the Ombudsman after youth group leaders on Wednesday filed a complaint against him over the release of fake news.

The Millenials Against Dictators wants the Ombudsman to probe Aguirre for alleging that several political figures in the country were behind the crisis in Marawi that have now caused over 200 deaths.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
(JAY GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN file photo)

On June 7, 2017, Aguirre reported that allies of former President Benigno Aquino III, namely Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV, as well as Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and adviser Ronald Llamas, met at Lake View Resort Hotel with some clans in Marawi and Moro. He even referred to a photo of their meeting which was spread on social media.

Aguirre stirred suspicion on their meeting, since he said that the Marawi crisis took place just two weeks later after the meeting. Because of this, Aguirre said he is going to let intelligence and security agencies investigate these individuals and their involvement in the siege.

In their complaint, the youth leaders stated that the photo Aguirre released was actually taken on June 7, 2015 at the Iloilo Airport. Even though Aguirre said he was simply “confused” by all the intelligence information he was receiving, the youth leaders said this was actually not the first time he made felonious reports.

“In February 2017, [Aguirre] ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into a claim made by Lalaine Madrigal Martinez, wife of one of the inmates who testified against Senator Leila De Lima, that she was ambushed, despite Makati Police Chief Senior Superintendent Dionisio Bartolome stating that the alleged ambush never happened,” the complaint reads.

On February 23, 2017, the South Korean Embassy also criticized Aguirre for alleging that some embassy officials were involved in the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo even though the police already ruled that the murder “had nothing to do with the Korean mafia.”

The youth leaders slammed Aguirre’s performance as DOJ secretary as “objectionable” and “reprehensible” since he constantly makes “gross palpable error in the appreciation of facts.”

They said Aguirre’s questionable accusations only cast doubt on his competence as DOJ secretary, and they hope he will be dismissed from his position, which is “one of the most powerful and influential public offices in the Philippines.”

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