Editorial: Backlash

JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is certainly not a reliable source considering the false information he spread in the past. For example, he once linked Sen. Bam Aquino to the terrorists who laid siege on Marawi City last year. He had told reporters a meeting between some Marawi political clans and Aquino, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and former presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas could have sparked the Marawi crisis.

Aguirre was later forced to apologize after his claim was proven to be false. It was apparently based on a photo that was taken months before he said it happened.

That’s why we can’t blame people if they would take Aguirre’s latest allegation, that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has been tagged by a witness as a protector of drug lords. Aguirre initially refused to provide details of the accusation, like who the witness was, what case was the witness’s testimony for, etc. But he later texted to reporters the name of the witness: Reynaldo “Jumbo” Diaz, cousin of slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz.

The affidavit was executed in November 2016 yet but Aguirre only divulged it now and thought of having the National Bureau of Investigation follow it up after Osmeña had threatened to sue him for supposedly intervening in the cases the mayor filed against Banco de Oro. To say that the move could be retaliatory is thus believable.

But to be fair to Aguirre, this is not the first time that Osmeña’s name has been tossed around as a drug protector. After President Duterte assumed his post and launched his war against illegal drugs, police officials identified with Osmeña were removed from their posts and transferred to other regions. That reached a point when, after Osmeña withdrew his support of the police, the National Police Commission temporarily took away his supervisory power over the police in the city. The belief then was that there must be something that the Duterte administration saw in Osmeña.

Things calmed after Osmeña settled down and found a way to fit into the setup with President Duterte at the helm. His hitting Aguirre thus had the justice secretary resurrecting the suspicions of years past.

Perhaps it is time to go beyond insinuations and come up with solid proof. Osmeña, like Mike Rama before him, deserves that.
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