Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in the congressional investigation on the alleged illegal drug operations inside the national penitentiary where Senator Leila de Lima was supposedly involved.
“Hindi totoo ‘yung kanyang akusasyon na ginaganap itong House investigation na ito ay dahil sa utos ng ating Pangulong Duterte. Hindi po totoo ‘yun,” Aguirre said at a press briefing after Tuesday’s hearing by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Justice.
“Ako mismo makapagsasabi na kahit minsan ako ay hindi kinausap ni Presidente Duterte na imbestigahan itong kanyang (De Lima) involvement sa illegal drug trade sa loob ng Bilibid,” he added.
De Lima, a former Department of Justice secretary, denied the allegation and described the House hearing as a “sham inquiry.”
The neophyte senator has been investigating the extrajudicial killings being linked to Duterte’s anti-drug war until she was voted out of the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Monday
De Lima has been a staunch critic of Duterte ever since she was head of the Commission on Human Rights.
Meanwhile, Aguirre chided De Lima for concluding that the testimonies of the witnesses would be all lies even without hearing them.
“Kahit hindi pa niya naririnig, sinasabi na agad niya na ang mga testigong ito ay puro kasinungalingan at imbento lamang ang sasabihin,” he said. “Pero bago mo sabihin iyon, pakinggan mo muna kung ano ang sasabihin nung tao bago ka magsabi na kasinungalingan.”
“Hindi maaaring sabihin mo na kasinungalingan ang hindi mo pa naririnig,” Aguirre pointed out. —KBK, GMA News