MANILA—After verifying from his sources, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday apologized to two senators for claiming that the two were plotting to put the blame on him in relation to the alleged PHP50 million bribery scandal involving officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), an attached agency of the DOJ.
Aguirre, in an interview last January 23, said there were three members of the Senate who were planning to offer immunity to some officials involved in the bribery scandal in exchange for putting the blame on him.
The Justice Secretary was referring to senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.
He said that after checking his sources, he said that Pangilinan was not involved in any plot as reported earlier.
“I apologize to Senator Kiko, a good public servant and an even better person for any blemish caused to his unsullied reputation,” Aguirre said.
Pangilinan accepted Aguirre’s apology. However, De Lima asked Aguirre that if could apologize to Pangilinan, could she expect him to apologize to her also.
Aguirre was reluctant to apologize explaining that he wanted to check his sources further, however, eventually did after prodding from Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.
Gordon asked Aguirre if he was apologizing to De Lima after she said herself that she was not involved in any plot. The Justice Secretary simply said “yes.”
Trillanes was not present in the hearing.