MANILA—Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on Friday challenged the alleged “jueteng” lord Charlie “Atong” Ang to show evidence and file charges based on his allegations that he received death threats and his (Aguirre) alleged involvement to the numbers game operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation.
”Atong Ang should present evidence of his accusation and file the appropriate charges against me in court or any proper office. I know he cannot because there is absolutely no truth to his accusation,” Aguirre said a statement.
The DOJ chief denied being a protector of illegal gambling based on the allegations of Ang.
”I categorically deny all the allegations of Atong Ang for being complete fabrications. I am not involved in illegal gambling. I am not a protector of illegal gambling. The same is true of his (Ang) unfounded allegation against my brother who is never involved in illegal gambling,” Aguirre stressed.
He believed the allegations of Ang is because of the raid operation that resulted to the arrest of 1,316 illegal Chinese workers in Jack Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark, Pampanga last November.
”I believe that his (Ang) accusation is his way of getting back at me after I ordered the raid of Fontana Leisure Park that busted the billion-peso online illegal gambling operation that was being conducted thereat by his business partner and best friend Jack Lam,” he noted.
”The records of PAGCOR will show that he (Ang) is the attorney-in-fact of Jack Lam in the latter’s effort to settle his liabilities to the Philippine government due to illegal gambling operations amounting to more than PHP13 billion so that he could again do business in the country,” Aguirre explained.
The DOJ Secretary also rebutted Ang’s claim, saying “If there is anybody who could be accused of being engaged or being a protector of gambling it is Atong Ang himself who everybody knows is the owner and the controlling interest of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation, a company that is conducting gambling operations without paying the proper taxes due to the Philippine government.”
Ang also claimed that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) wants Meridien’s operations stopped because of conflict with small-town lottery (STL).
”Before the reorganization of PCSO, I, as a member of the ad hoc committee formed to streamline and improve PCSO operations, have identified Meridien as engaged in illegal gambling. As a matter of fact, it was not given a franchise to operate as Small Town Lottery unit by PCSO and is a target for closure by the latter,” the DOJ Secretary said.
Aguirre also denied that he ordered National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to kill Ang based on his allegations that he (Ang) received death threats for linking him (Aguirre) to the numbers game operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation.
”I likewise categorically deny that I have ordered that Mr. Atong Ang be killed by the NBI or by any group for that matter. Mr. Ang is imagining things,” he noted.
”This is clearly a demolition job against me, in conspiracy with the destabilizers of the Duterte administration,” he added.
Saying he has nothing to hide, Aguirre said he is ready to face any probe.
”I am ready to face any kind of investigation that might be conducted, be it legislative, criminal or administrative. I am not afraid as I have nothing to hide. My conscience is clear,” Aguirre said, who is currently on a study tour in the United States with the Judicial and Bar Council, of which he is an ex-officio member.
Aguirre is set to return to the country on April 30.
In a TV news report, Ang said he got information that officials wanted him killed.
Ang said he also received threats from certain police officials he identified through the surnames “Uyami” and “Corpus”.
He also claimed that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office wants Meridien’s operations stopped because of conflicts with small-town lottery (STL).
He further alleged that Aguirre and his engineer sibling controlled STL operations from Batangas to Bicol.