'I'm no liar' Aguirre stands by ambush claim
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II stood by his earlier claim that the wife of one of the high-profile drug inmates who testified against Senator Leila de Lima was ambushed on the morning of Friday, February 24
"The ambush is real, I am no liar!" was the statement Aguirre sent to members of the media on Monday, February 27 after the Makati Police and the Southern Police District (SPD) denied on Friday that there was such incident in their jurisdiction. (READ: Does Justice Secretary Aguirre believe in fake news?)
Aguirre provided photos showing Lalaine Madrigal-Martinez, wife of drug convict Noel Martinez, getting out of her vehicle with what looked like blood on the right part of her white t-shirt. Another photo shows the bloodied Mrs. Martinez behind the broken windshield of her car.
In a chance interview with reporters Friday afternoon, Aguirre said Lalaine meant to call the police but she changed her mind. There are no records of Lalaine being checked up in any hospital or clinic because, Aguirre said, she "self-medicated."
Aguirre said Lalaine sustained a bullet wound from the shooting.
“Mayroon [bullet wound], daplis lang. Walang record kasi ayaw niya nang ipaalam sa office. Actually ang report niya, sa telepono, tinawagan niya, inambush daw siya, hinihintay daw niya ang pulis. Pero siguro nagbago ang isip, huwag nang i-report, kaya nag self-medicate na lang daw siya, sa kapatid niya.” Aguirre said.
(She has a bullet wound, but it's shallow. There's no record because she didn't report it to the office. Actually, it was reported via a telephone call, she called, she said she was ambushed, she said she was waiting for the police. But maybe she changed her mind and decided not to report, and then she self-medicated with the help of her sibling.)
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said the photos were taken immediately after the ambush. The photos indicate that the vehicle was hit by one bullet.
Aguirre refused to name the source for the photos or provide other details, but said it was an unreported incident.
Aguirre has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the alleged ambush. The vehicle, according to the DOJ, is undergoing bullet trajectory investigation.
“The claim of an ambush by Lalaine Madrigal-Martinez is a serious matter. As Justice Secretary, I take such report, especially by the supposed victim, seriously. I will be remiss in my duty if I did not take it seriously," Aguirre said in a statement on Sunday.
Aguirre broke the story of Lalaine' ambush on the same day that he named former Senator Jamby Madrigal and Biñan City Representative Marlyn Alonte as being behind the alleged P100 million bribery try to get inmates to recant their testimonies against de Lima. (READ: Jamby Madrigal demands apology from Aguirre for 'malicious' allegation)
Aguirre said in media interviews on Friday morning that the shooting lasted around 20 minutes at the Sta. Ana area in Makati.
Aguirre said Lalaine is Madrigal's cousin and it was through the former senator that the bribery offer made its way to Lalaine's husband, who is among the 8 inmates transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Custodial Center from the NBP. (READ: LIST: Witnesses vs De Lima who were granted immunity)
Rappler was still following up with Makati Police Chief Senior Supt. Dionisio Bartolome as of posting time. – Rappler.com