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Aguirre: 'De Lima' video won't be shown at House probe

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he will not present Senator Leila de Lima's alleged sex video at the next House hearing on the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"No, we are not going to present anything about [the sex video]....We are just going to present witnesses but we are not in possession of any video," Aguirre said in an interview at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 4.

Aguirre, who was attending the House plenary deliberations on the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ), made the statement after various groups and lawmakers slammed the House plan to show the alleged video at the House inquiry. (READ: Lady lawmakers oppose showing 'De Lima' video at House probe)

The justice chief had said on previous occasions that the alleged video would supposedly prove De Lima's romantic link with her former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan. Dayan allegedly acted as De Lima's bagman for drug money collected within the NBP to fund her 2016 senatorial bid.

Aguirre had earlier said in media interviews that the government would be forced to present all "3" alleged sex videos of De Lima in court if she refused to admit her relationship with Dayan, even as De Lima and other lawmakers and groups reminded him that doing so would be against the law.

On Wednesday, Aguirre expressed confidence that the DOJ would be able to link De Lima and Dayan even without the alleged video, which he said would have been "very material" to the case.

"Very material iyon. Ang sinasabi ko lang, sobra-sobra na ang ebidensiya doon sa magpapatunay sa kanyang relasyon. Kaya whether gamitin mo man o hindi ang video, I could establish their relationship," he said.

(That’s very material. I’m just saying that there is so much evidence that would prove their relationship. Whether or not we use the video, I could establish their relationship.)

Aguirre said he would present new witnesses who would testify that they personally handed Bilibid drug money to De Lima herself.

"Maraming bagong witnesses, witnesses na magsasabing inabot talaga nila ang drug money kay De Lima," he said.

(There are new witnesses who can testify that they really gave the money directly to De Lima.)

Aguirre's earlier plan to show the video was backed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who later said he would just let the concerned House panel make the decision. The plan was slammed online, prompting a social media movement against slut-shaming in the Philippine Congress. (READ: #EveryWoman: No slut-shaming in Philippine Congress)

Sebastian attendance not sure yet

The House committee on justice, chaired by Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali, will resume the hearing on October 6.

Aguirre cannot confirm yet if Sebastian, whom the House panel already subpoenaed, would be able to attend, as he was injured at a recent riot at the NBP

"Siyempre, kung halimbawang hindi siya puwedeng umattend, karapatan ni Sebastian na humingi ng medical certificate sa mga doctor na hindi pa siya puwede," said Aguirre.

(Of course, if for example he cannot attend, it is his right to ask for a medical certificate from his doctors.)

He said, however, that Sebastian is only willing to testify about the anomalies on the food supply in the NBP. 

Sebastian’s lawyer Eduardo Arriba earlier said his client would only bare what he knew about Bilibid drugs to President Rodrigo Duterte, but the President rejected this, saying he does not talk to criminals. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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