Sunday| June 11, 2017
Sen. Risa Hontiveros slammed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Saturday as the “king of fake news” and decried his supposed attempt to link opposition lawmakers to the terrorist seige of Marawi City.
“Doesn’t the fake news king of Padre Faura have anything better to do?” Hontiveros asked in a news briefing. “Soldiers and innocent civilians are dying in Marawi, but he is still busying himself with fake cases and fake news.”
Hontiveros criticized Aguirre for signing on June 7 Department Order No. 385 directing the National Bureau of Investigation to probe some lawmakers for supposed links to the terrorist Maute Group.
Aguirre signed the order days after he told journalists that Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV met with Moro leaders in Marawi City on May 2 purportedly to plot against the government.
The justice secretary even showed a photo of Aquino and Trillanes supposedly meeting some Muslim leaders in Marawi on May 2. But it later turned out the picture was taken at Iloilo City in September 2015.
“Are you investigating every one who is just asking about the declaration of martial law?” she asked Aguirre even as her colleagues in the Liberal Party urged him to recall the order.
At the same time, Sen. Francis Pangilinan urged other senators to conduct a probe with a view to passing a law penalizing internet users for posting fake news on their social media accounts.
Sen. Grace Poe also expressed alarm at the fake news phenomenon and said it was already affecting both public and private interests.
Poe also criticized Aguirre for propagating fake news “like a troll” and carelessly linking lawmakers to the Maute group.
Hontiveros asked to meet journalists after she herself was criticized on social media for supposedly trying to defend the Maute Group.
But Hontiveros said she was only asking about martial law and not defending terrorists.
She said she was also disappointed at Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president’s daughter, who said in a Facebook post that Hontiveros sounded like a spokesperson of the Maute Group.
“The accusation that I am abetting a rebellion is absurd,” Hontiveros said.