PAYBACK: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II believes the Senate investigation into the P50 million bribery scandal in the immigration bureau is payback for his investigation of Senator Leila de Lima's alleged links to the illicit drug trade.
"Alam ko na iyan ay pagganti lamang sa ginagawa kong mga imbestigasyon tungkol diyan kay Secretary De Lima," Aguirre told radio DZMM.
"Ang payo ko lang sa kanila, pagbasehin ninyo ang katotohanan. Kung kayo ay mayroong anything sa akin, bring it on. Haharapin ko."
De Lima authored the Senate resolution that paved the way for a probe into allegations that gambling tycoon Jack Lam attempted to bribe Aguirre and several Immigration officials with millions of pesos in exchange for releasing over 1,300 undocumented workers arrested in his online casino in Pampanga.
Aguirre has insisted that he rejected an offer to be Lam's "ninong."
BI deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, on the other hand, were caught on CCTV accepting some P50 million from retired police general Wally Sombero, Lam's alleged representative.
Aguirre claimed that Senators Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV, who are allied with De Lima, want to offer legislative immunity to Argosino and Robles in exchange for pinning him down in the scandal.
"Hindi nila matanggap na ako'y maaaring tumanggi ng malaking pera na pwedeng daan-daang milyong kung tinanggap ko iyung alok ni Jack Lam through Sombero," the Justice secretary said.
"Palagay ko ang nasa isip ng mga iyan, kung sila ang nasa katayuan ko ay 'di magdadalawang-isip iyang mga iyan na tanggapin."
(They can't accept that I am capable of rejecting what could be millions of pesos had I accepted Jack Lam's offer. They may be thinking that if they were in my position, they would not have second-guessed accepting it.)
Aguirre also slammed Trillanes for interpellating resource persons only after he had left Monday's hearing to attend a Cabinet meeting.
"Iyan ay karuwagan. Bakit hindi niya ako tinanong noong andoon pa ako, pagkatapos kong umalis, kung ano-anong pinagsasabi niya?" he said.
"I am waiting for that February 7 hearing para matanong niya ako nang harap-harapan," he added.
(That's cowardice. Why didn't he ask me when when I was still there and only started talking when I'va already left? I am waiting for the February 7 hearing so he could ask me to my face.)
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