JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has reacted to Senator Grace Poe's statement criticizing him after he had asked the public in a pro-Duterte rally last Saturday who they want to prosecute next.

"She has the right to state that fact," Aguirre said in a chance interview at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday.

During a pro-Duterte rally at the Quirino grandstand last Saturday evening, a day after Senator Leila De Lima's arrest, Aguirre asked the administration's supporters who they want to put to jail next, to which the mob replied, "[Senator Antonio] Trillanes."

Asked during the interview if he was just joking, Aguirre replied: Ano pa. Wala na silang sense of humor eh."

"Alam mo naman sa mga political rally eh. Masiyado silang...'Pag political rally parang entertainment lang 'yan eh," he said.

Poe had slammed Aguirre for his statements that are 'unlikely' to be heard from a Justice Secretary.

"This is a gentle reminder to the Justice Secretary: You are expected to administer justice fairly and not to moonlight as a perya barker who agitates the crowds. That high office entails prudent decision-making which is not served by tasteless stunts that incite the mob," Poe said.

"To say that you have been carried away by the cheers is no excuse. A Justice Secretary should be made of sterner stuff, one who is never swayed by partisan provocation, because when he does, he betrays his oath and renders his very own self unfit for the job," she added.

In reaction, the justice chief replied: "Next time my speech would be more appropriate."

Trillanes earlier said De Lima's arrest over her supposed ties to illegal drug trading at the state penitentiary motivates him to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte for being a "plunderer" and "mass murderer."

Trillanes had accused Duterte of having an undeclared wealth that had reached P2 billion and for being behind the summary killings in the coun try. (SunStar Philippines)