A GROUP composed of youths, student leaders, netizens and other concerned citizens filed Wednesday, July 5, before the Office of the Ombudsman an administrative complaint for breach of the code of ethical conduct against Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
The group wants the Ombudsman to hold Aguirre accountable for violating Section 4 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for his repeated unsubstantiated public accusations and allegations thus failing to discharge his duties with "excellence, professionalism, intelligence, and skill."
Aguirre was tagged as "fake news king" for allegedly spreading unfounded claims and incorrect information in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The group said Aguirre also violated Section 1 of the Article XI of the 1987 Constitution when he refused to take responsibility for his actions as DOJ chief despite his false accusations.
Complainants were Akbayan Youth secretary-general Shamah Bulangis, Millennials Against Dictators co-convenor Karla Yu, Andrei Kristian Buendia, Anna Marie Mercaldi, Ma Ana Fatima Tolentino, Nikki Nasubay Nicolas, Julie-Ann Kris Corridor, Rae Emmanuek Echaveria and Jonna Feliz Cajayon.
Bulangis said they want Aguirre removed from his post for his repeated actions unbecoming as a Justice Secretary.
"Naniniwala kami na ang pundasyon ng hustisya ay ang katotoohan at kung hindi naniniwala sa katotoohan at kung hindi nagpapalaganap ng katotoohan ang kagawaran ng hustisiya, para saan pa ang pusisyon niya," Bulangis said.
Bulangis added the DOJ is becoming a "factory of fake news" under Aguirre's leadership.
Yu, another complainant, said in this age where fake news is rampant officials must be very careful in the information they spread.
She said Aguirre abused his position when he failed to inform the public correctly.
"Hindi po niya dapat ginagamit yung kanyang public office to perpetuate yung mga misinformation specifically about pag-aaccuse nya sa several senators about conspiring sa Marawi crisis, and at the same time yung kanyang pagsasabi na ang Korean Mafia daw ay involved sa mga EJK (extrajudicial killings)," she added.
In a press conference last June 7, Aguirre said he received an information that Senators Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino and Antonio Trillanes III, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, and former political adviser Ronald Llamas met with the prominent families in Marawi City, weeks before the siege began.
To substantiate his claim, he showed a photo of the said meeting with the media.
The said officials just laughed off the issue saying the photo was taken at the Iloilo airport sometime in 2015.
'Mocha Uson next'
Mocha should also be held liable for spreading fake news, said Yu.
"Mocha should also be held...she's now holding public office as well, she should be held at the same standard," she added.
Yu urged groups to file a complaint against Uson, now the Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Communication Office.
"Kung may gusto man mag-file ng case sa kanya I think we highly encourage them as well, we are not nitpicking here," Yu said.
"This move is for us to embolden the public to take a stand on these issues... Hindi po natin dapat hinahayaan lang. We must allow the public to take a stand on these issues and tell our government na tama na po, hindi na po namin kayang sikmurain yung mga kasinungalingan na pinapalaganap ng ibat-ibang forces," she added. (SunStar Philippines)