SEN. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th is considering filing a complaint against Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd for linking him to the Maute terrorist group that attacked and occupied Marawi City.
Aquino, a member of the Liberal Party (LP), said he is being urged by some groups to file a case against the Justice secretary for his baseless allegations.
“They want to show that he (Aguirre) clearly committed a mistake and we are still looking at that. We are studying if this is the right course of action,” Aquino said during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum.
Aquino said if the DOJ secretary has the intention to rectify his error, he should issue a public apology.
“He made the allegation in public so it is only proper for him to correct it also in public,” the senator added.
He admitted that Aguirre called him by phone on Wednesday night to apologize. He promised to issue a public apology on Thursday.
Aguirre on Wednesday linked Aquino and Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th with opposition congressman Gary Alejano, former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas and local leaders in Marawi.
He told reporters that he received information that the two senators had a meeting with local leaders in Marawi on May 2.
“Hindi ko malaman (I can’t understand) why after they went there nagkagulo na (there was chaos) after two weeks. They met with the people there, they met with several families there,” Aguirre said.
The Justice chief later apologized to the Alonto and Lucman families.
“There was no intent on my part to implicate the Alonto and Lucman families in the crisis Marawi City is currently facing. Both families have never been and shall never be a part of any plot to destroy or cause harm to anybody or any property,” he said.
Aquino lamented that Aguirre’s statement was damaging.
“The sad truth is marami maniniwala (many believed it). Yung galit sa opposition (those who are against the opposition) are inclined to believe it,” he told reporters.
He said Aguirre’s action showed that there is a move to implicate opposition senators and those who do not agree with the administration.
Asked if he sees Aguirre fit to remain in his post, Aquino responded in the negative. But he noted that the Justice secretary was man enough to apologize to him.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the decision to retain Aguirre lies with the President.
According to Lacson, the Commission on Appointments (CA) cannot revoke Aguirre’s confirmation.
“Only the President can remove him,” he added.
Malacañang on Thursday came to the defense of Aguirre, saying he is “not going against policy.
Abella said Aguirre has the “full trust” of President Rodrigo Duterte for his “excellent” performance as Justice chief.
“He has the full trust of the President. He is doing an excellent job in the DOJ,” Abella said.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE