- Aguirre has apologized to Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Leila De Lima over plot claim
- The DOJ chief earlier accused three senators of conspiring to pin him down in the P50-M bribery scandal
- He initially refused to apologize to De Lima but eventually gave in upon Senator Richard Gordon’s prodding
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has apologized to Senators Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan and Leila De Lima whom he earlier accused of conspiring to pin him down in the P50-M Immigration bribery scandal.
On Tuesday’s hearing at the Senate, Aguirre apologized first to Pangilinan after the Liberal Party (LP) stalwart questioned him on the allegation that three senators are planning to grant immunity to former Immigration officials Al Argosino and Mike Robles so the two can testify against the DOJ chief.
Pangilinan vehemently denied Aguirre’s claim which the latter revealed in an early interview.
Aguirre then read a statement apologizing to Pangilinan.
“After verifying from my sources and referencing the information we have, let me state for the record that the good senator is not involved in any plot or any plan as reported earlier,” said Aguirre.
“I apologize to Senator Kiko, a good public servant and an even better person for any blemish caused for his unsullied reputation,” the DOJ Secretary added.
De Lima, who was one of the three lawmakers named by Aguirre, the third being Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, stood up and asked whether the same apology is also being extended to her.
Aguirre initially refused; saying De Lima has never publicly denied his allegation and asked for another week to verify his sources.
“Kung binawi ninyo po ‘yung salita ninyong yan kay Sen. Kiko, can I expect you, Mr. Secretary, na pakibawi din po ‘yung pagturo ninyo sa akin because I have nothing to do with that,” the lady senator asked.
However, Senator Richard Gordon intervened and asked Aguirre if he can also apologize to De Lima since she has already denied her alleged involvement in the plot.
Aguirre eventually said “Yes, your honor” upon Gordon’s prodding. However, he did not say whether he has any plan to do the same to Trillanes who is currently out of the country.