JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II confirmed Thursday that five agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have been protecting gambling operator Charlie "Atong" Ang.
At a press conference, Aguirre told reporters that he already know the NBI agent who called Ang to report the alleged kill plot supposedly ordered by him and the other NBI agents protecting the gaming tycoon.
"Totoo yun, na talagang may mga NBI agents na kaniyang protektor. Na mga kaibigan niya. Na hawak na niya yun nung mga nakaraang panahon pa at up to now kakontact niya yang mga NBI agents na 'yan at nalaman ko na din," Aguirre said.
He said he got his information from insiders from the NBI.
Aside from the five NBI agents whom Aguirre refused to identify, he has also linked former high ranking NBI officials in Ang's alleged illegal gambling operations that yield P10 million to 15 million profit per day.
Aguirre said that the NBI agents who coddles Ang benefits from his gaming operations.
The justice secretary said an investigation against the NBI agents linked to Ang's businesses is now being conducted.
In an interview last week, Ang said that Aguirre and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., are planning to kill him to stop his operation of jai-alai, a numbers game that allegedly weakens Aguirre and Esperon's alleged operation of Small Town Lottery (STL).
He also tagged Aguirre's brother, Ogie Aguirre, on the issue.
Ang said the Aguirres operate STL operations in Southern provinces including Laguna, Batangas and Bicol while Esperon together with some generals who control operations in the North of the country, including Pangasinan.
He earlier denied his and his brother's involvement in gambling operations and said he is willing to be investigated.
Aguirre dares Ang to sue him
Aguirre meanwhile said he was prompted to issue an order directing the NBI to look into the veracity of Ang's allegations against him and Esperon as the gaming tycoon failed to file case against him.
"Napilitan lang akong gawin ang NBI... kasi daldal ng daldal si Atong Ang nang hindi naman nagcocomplaint. Kasi pinapapatay ka na ng dalawang tao, pero 'di ka naman nagcocomplaint, so ako na mismo ang nagpaimbistiga," he said.
Aguirre then urged Ang to file a complaint with the Philippine National Police (PNP) if he does not trust the NBI's probe, as it is an attached agency under the DOJ.
"Sabi ko kung wala kang tiwala sa NBI sapagkat yan ay attached agency ng DOJ, pumunta ka sa PNP, pumunta ka sa CIDG at magpaimbestiga ka, dalhin mo ang iyong testigo at dun ka magdeklarasyon," he said.
Aguirre said Ang's evidence are mere "hearsay" and that his action, which he called a demolization plot against him was his revenge on the NBI's raid in his gambling operations in Tugegarao and three other provinces.
"Masama ang kaniyang loob dahil yung invisibility niya sa illegal gambling ay nawala na," he said.
On April 19, the NBI Cagayan Valley Regional Office conducted an operation against Ang's Meridian Gaming Corporation in Ilagan, Province of Isabela resulting in the arrest of 40 employees of Meridian.
Aguirre said Ang's camp plans to stage an "ambush me" this weekend to justify the gambling tycoon's allegations that the justice secretary and Esperon want him killed over his alleged illegal gambling ties.
Aguirre said he received the information from a source.
"I received a reliable information na this weekend ay mayroong magiistage ng ambush me. Para yung pagambush na 'yan, e kami na naman ang pagbintangan ni secretary Esperon na siyang nagpaambush sa kaniya (Atong Ang)," he said.
"Ito ay gagawin lang sapagkat ito ay pinapatern nila nung panahon ni Erap na merong isang nagpaambush or aambushin sana pero yun ang naging dahilan ng pagbagsak ng adiminstration. Yan ang gusto nilang gayahin," he added.
The staged ambush, according to the justice secretary, will also justify a senator's call for a Senate probe on Ang's accusations linking the Cabinet secretaries to STL operations nationwide.
"Itong ambush me na ito gagamitin naman ng isang senador para justify yung kaniyang pagtawag ng senate investigation," Aguirre said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday asked the Senate to probe the accusations of Ang. (SunStar Philippines)