- Justice secretary downplayed remark during pro-Duterte weekend rally
- He said his words were only to entertain the crowd at the time
- He chided his critics, said they are making a mountain out of a molehill
MANILA, Philippines – In response to criticism over his remarks during the pro-Duterte rally held at the Quirino Grandstand over the weekend, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told detractors that his words were for entertainment purposes only.
“Pag sa political rally, parang mga entertainment lang’ yan [In a political rally, it’s only for entertainment],” Politiko quoted him as saying.
During the rally, Aguirre asked the crowd who they want to see him arrest next — a questioned answered with shouts of “Trillanes”.
Several lawmakers, including allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, chided the justice chief for his remarks; saying he was inciting divisiveness among Filipinos.
“This is a gentle reminder to the Justice Secretary: You are expected to administer justice fairly and not to moonlight as a perya barker who agitates the crowds,” Sen. Grace Poe said.
“That was uncalled for, it was not prudent, it was not proper. That venue, maybe the justice secretary should not have been there. As justice secretary, you have to at least present a fair position on those issues. And I consider myself an ally of the president because I’m from Mindanao. Coming from us it means a lot,” Sen. Miguel Zubiri added.
However, Aguirre said they were making a big fuss over nothing.
“Ano pa? Wala silang sense of humor [What else? They lack a sense of humor],” he said. “Ang ano ko lang diyan eh [My point is] they are making a mountain out of a mole hill.”
At the same time, Aguirre vowed that his next speech would be more in line with his role as justice secretary and alter-ego of the president.
“Next time my speech would be more appropriate,” he said.
Trillanes, a fierce critic of Duterte like jailed Sen. Leila de Lima, has repeatedly accused the president of amassing billions in his bank accounts. He also claimed the administration was plotting to silence through an accident.