In his tenure as the former Secretary of Justice, Vitaliano Aguirre II is currently under scrutiny due to allegations that he coerced a witness to testify against former Senator Leila de Lima. De Lima is involved in a case related to illegal drugs, and she was recently granted bail for the remaining charges.
According to a report, former Senate President Franklin Drilon stated that the testimony of former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Rafael Ragos, claiming that he was forced to testify against De Lima, could lead to a complaint against Aguirre for subornation of perjury. This is a serious crime under the Revised Penal Code, and if proven, Aguirre could face imprisonment for 10-12 years.
Aguirre was appointed by former President Rodrigo Duterte, who was focused on De Lima’s criticism of his intense and controversial campaign against illegal drugs. The allegation of suborning falsehoods poses a significant obstacle for the former Secretary of Justice, opening the possibility of accountability for his actions under Duterte’s administration.
On the other hand, Drilon clarified that there is currently no evidence proving that Duterte “instigated and directed” the filing of cases against De Lima. However, if there is sufficient evidence in the future, Duterte may also be among those who could be charged with subornation of perjury.
As this case unfolds, discussions about controversial events under the Duterte administration are once again gaining traction. It underscores the importance of the integrity of the judiciary and the proper legal processes. Therefore, this case not only exposes issues in the legal aspect but also raises questions about the moral accountability of government officials.