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Aguirre orders NBI to probe destab plotters

THE Justice department has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the opposition leaders who might be involved in the alleged planning to destabilize the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an order dated June 7, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II asked the NBI to investigate and build a case against “some senators and other opposition leaders” implicated in the alleged destabilization plot.

Meanwhile, Aguirre II on Friday cleared opposition Senator Bam Aquino of participation in the alleged destabilization plot against Duterte.

“Upon further verification, I was able to establish that Senator Bam Aquino went to Marawi City on May 19, 2017 upon invitation of Governor Soraya Alonto-Adiong to promote the Go Negosyo Program,  Aguirre said in statement.

Aguirre made the statement after receiving flak for his earlier claim that Aquino, along with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Rep. Gary Alejano and Ronald Llamas, political adviser of former President Benigno Aquino III, were involved in the Marawi City conflict.

He claimed that Aquino was among the members of the opposition who went to Marawi City and met with some prominent families on May 2, three weeks before the fighting broke out.

Aguirre also mentioned a photo he received from his asset purportedly taken during the meeting. He refused to provide a copy of the photo but reporters were able to catch a glimpse of it.

Nonetheless, he eventually retracted his statement and issued a clarification saying the meeting never took place and he was misquoted by the media.

“He [Bam Aquino] was not present in the alleged meeting of opposition leaders said to have been held in Marawi City on May 2, 2017,” Aguirre said.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II

“I did not give, release or send to anyone any picture of any Marawi meeting. The picture of an alleged meeting allegedly taken in 2015 did not come from me.”

To debunk Aguirre’s allegation, Aquino presented proof that made him impossible to be in Marawi as claimed by Aguirre.

On that day, Aquino said, he was a graduation speaker at the Philippine International Convention Center in the morning and attended the Senate plenary session in the afternoon.

Members of the Justice and Court Reporters Association slammed Aguirre for blaming the media for the backlash he received after issuing a statement dragging members of the opposition into the destabilization plot that led to the Marawi siege.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also lambasted Aguirre for using the media as his scapegoat to clarify his statement about the destabilization plot against the government.

Topics: Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II , National Bureau of Investigation , Opposition leaders , Duterte administration , Destabilization
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