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DOJ urged to revoke order vs opposition members
MANILA, Philippines - The Liberal Party (LP) has demanded the revocation of the order issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for the National Bureau of Investigation to build up a case against members of the political opposition due to their alleged involvement in destabilization plots against the administration.
In a statement, the LP said Department Order 385 issued by Aguirre was not only absurd, but also preposterous.
It came just after Aguirre accused the members of the opposition, including the LP’s Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, of going to Marawi City last May 2 to meet with local clan leaders in what was allegedly the planning of the current crisis in the city.
“After massive flak for this, he backtracked and admitted that he was confused by several reports and clarified that the accusations he made were a mistake, further conceding that the allegations were based on fake news,” the LP said.
“Given said events, we question the credibility of the basis of this investigation,” it added.
The LP reminded Aguirre that as justice secretary, his duty is to uphold the rule of law and administer justice after due process.
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“From the looks of it, however, the justice secretary seems hell-bent on pinning down the political opposition and those critical of him and his administration,” the LP stated.
“We demand that Department Order 385 be revoked and for Aguirre to stop the political harassment of members of Congress and the opposition, even as we continue to study our legal options against him,” it added.
LP president Sen. Francis Pangilinan aired his belief that this was all part of squid tactics being employed by Aguirre to cover up his own controversies.
Pangilinan said that he could not understand why Aguirre has repeatedly come out with allegations and then backtracking when its credibility comes under question.
“This forms a pattern of squid tactics as Aguirre himself has been embroiled in corruption issues, such as the P50-million extortion scandal in the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and his brother’s alleged involvement in small-town lottery in Luzon,” the LP said.
The LP recalled how Aguirre, in the BI extortion scandal, accused minority Senators Leila de Lima, Pangilinan and Trillanes of offering legislative immunity to the personalities involved in exchange for their testimony against him.
It recalled how Aguirre later backtracked and apologized to De Lima and Pangilinan during a succeeding Senate hearing on the scandal.
“Aguirre also floated the lie that LP members were behind a P100-million bribe try on his drug lord witnesses against Senator De Lima to recant their testimonies against the now-detained senator. He later revealed the two to be former senator Jamby Madrigal and PDP-Laban congresswoman Len Alonte, who both vehemently denied the accusation,” the LP noted.
“The justice secretary also embarrassed the country when he linked people from the South Korean embassy to the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo which happened right inside Camp Crame,” it added.
Pangilinan reminded the administration that dissent is part of democracy and as such should not be stifled.
“Just because we oppose certain issues does not mean that we want to bring down the government. We don’t adhere to such moves because they are unconstitutional,” he said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who also belongs to the Senate minority bloc, also denounced the order issued by Aguirre, who she described as the “fake news king.”
“I will not be surprised if a case is filed against me or my colleagues in the Senate minority. I will not be intimidated or silenced. I will continue to take the floor and speak truth to power,” Hontiveros said.