[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Independence from Vitaliano Aguirre II

[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Independence from Vitaliano Aguirre II
As we celebrate Independence Day, we ask to be free – free from the justice secretary’s spin, lies, and conspiracies

The tragedy of Vitaliano Aguirre II’s recent lie is not so much his refusal to bow in shame for it, it is the sorry fact that we are his captive audience, desperate to be liberated from his alternative truths but stuck in a country that has him for justice secretary.

Aguirre’s fake news about a supposed opposition meeting to plot the Marawi attacks isn’t his first foray into trolling. He enjoys a hefty record of peddling speculation, insinuation, and false information, all earned in less than a year. At the height of the De Lima drug scandal last year, he announced on radio the (fake) ambush of a wife of an alleged drug lord. The Makati police said no such thing happened; Aguirre stuck to his guns. He also identified a has-been in politics who had no stake at all in the drug fracas, Jamby Madrigal, as one who bribed Bilibid inmates to retract their testimonies against De Lima. He dragged the South Korean embassy in Manila into the kidnapping and killing of one of their own, businessman Jee Ick Joo. 

Through outright lies, hidden lies, and unacknowledged lies, Aguirre gives law and government a bad name.

So what are the lawyers like him going to do about it?

What are the decent, truth-seeking members of the Duterte Cabinet going to do about it – considering that his department is the primary investigative and prosecutorial arm of a bureaucracy that will outlast presidents, politicians, and political appointees?

What are his “victims” – lawmakers, public officials, private citizens – going to do about it?

We ask them to take action. 

We ask them to seek concrete redress of the immediate and long-term consequences of institutionalized falsehood, as represented by him who gets paid by taxpayers and is mandated to heed the code of public conduct. 

We ask them to make him account for breaking the Filipino lawyer’s oath to “do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court,” and public officials’ commitment to the “highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.”

The justice secretary diminishes our faith in the institutions and people tasked to serve this nation.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we ask to be free – free from his spin, lies, and conspiracies. – Rappler.com

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