MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday slammed critics tagging him as a ‘fake news king’.
“I never been a fake news king,”Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II when sought for a comment on Monday in response to the youth group Millennial Against Dictators who filed administrative ethics complaint last week against him before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Last June 7, Aguirre told the media that some lawmakers held a meeting prior to the terror attacks in Marawi City which was perpetrated by the Maute group which he described as possibly a part of the destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Aguirre disclosed reports he received that Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, former presidential adviser for political affairs Ronald Llamas, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Allejano Alejano, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV) Trillanes met in Marawi City on May 2 with influential Moro clans including the Lucman and the Alonto prior the attack of the Maute terrorist group.
In an earlier statement, Aguirre reiterated that the information he revealed to the media in a press conference last June 7 was raw, noting that he wanted to verify and investigate further on the matter.
”Unang una, hindi fake news yun. It is a raw intelligence report and I made clear to the media, sa inyo. Sinabi ko sa inyo na this is mere intelligence report. I have to validate it. I don’t want to make speculation,” Aguirre told reporters in ambush interview on Monday.
Earlier, the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA) issued a statement over Aguirre’s earlier statements claiming that he was misquoted during his June 7 press conference where he dragged several opposition lawmakers into the Marawi siege.
“As recorded in our videos and voice recorder and even in our Facebook Live coverages, we quoted Sec. Aguirre verbatim and only reported the facts to our viewers and readers – including the fact that he showed a photo from his mobile phone supposedly showing the meeting between the senators and Muslim clans in Marawi last May 2,” read the statement.
“As responsible journalists, we also took the opportunity to perform our duty of verifying and counter-checking the information and photo that the Secretary has presented during the briefing, and found that several details and information were wrong,” it added.
The youth group filed the petition seeking the Ombudsman to hold Aguirre accountable for violating Section 4 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for his repeated unsubstantiated public accusations and allegations thus failing to discharge his duties with “excellence, professionalism, intelligence, and skill.”
The group tagged Aguirre as “fake news king” for allegedly spreading unfounded claims and incorrect information in his official capacity as Secretary of the DOJ.