"I am both amused and disappointed."
- Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II
“Initially, I found the filing of the case amusing. Not only are the allegations contained therein utterly false, they are purely hearsay,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said when informed of the filing of the case against him, President Duterte and other government officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC) by lawyer Jude Sabio for his client, self-confessed hitman and killer Edgar Matobato.
“Edgar Matobato is a discredited witness whose lack of credibility has been conclusively and glaringly established in the hearings before the Philippine Senate, an august and a respectable institution, last year. If a majority of the Filipino people did not believed him before, why should the ICC believe him now? The equation is simple, if the source is polluted, the output is likewise polluted. Does anybody, in their right mind, still believe Matobato?”, added Secretary Aguirre.
“My inclusion, as a respondent, in the communication filed by Atty. Sabio before the ICC is equally amusing and baseless. The camp of Matobato and Sabio apparently threw a net in the sea with this case and want to see how many fishes they can catch before the ICC. Sorry to disappoint them this early, they will catch none. Their case is substantially and procedurally infirm and bereft of merit. Take the allegations against me, I HAVE CATEGORICALLY DENIED, TIME AND AGAIN, I never said that drug lords are not humans. I WAS DELIBERATELY MISQUOTED. What I said is that DRUG LORDS ARE NOT HUMANITY. I even clarified this during my confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appoinments that what I meant was that DRUG LORDS CANNOT BE EQUATED WITH HUMANITY. I was confirmed right? And I still maintain that stance even today. Anybody who deliberately profits from the sale of illegal drugs which destroy the lives, the future and the families of their buyers cannot really be equated with humanity,” Secretary Aguirre added further.
“I am disappointed with Atty. Sabio. As a brethren in the noble profession of lawyering, he has sunk so low. He has deliberately prostituted himself at the altar of greed and self-interest. He has disregarded our Lawyer’s Oath that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any. His present action totally disregarded the warning issued to him by the Supreme Court itself in the August 11, 2008 case of Judge Alden V. Cervantes vs. Atty. Jude Josue L. Sabio. What did the Supreme Court say to Atty. Sabio in that case? Allow me to share it with you. The Supreme Court, speaking through then Associate Justice, now Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio-Morales told Atty. Sabio that, Respondent ought to be aware that if a court official or employee or a lawyer is to be disciplined, the evidence against him should be substantial, competent and derived from direct knowledge, not on mere allegations, conjectures, suppositions, or on the basis of hearsay. Apparently, even after being fined P5,000.00 and being warned by the Supreme Court that a repetition of the same or similar questioned act will be dealt with more severely, Atty. Sabio has shown that no lessons were learned by him. He has allowed himself to be used, for what reason or purpose, we can only surmise,” Secretary Aguirre further said.
“Matobato, Sabio and whoever is behind them are out to destabilize the Duterte administration by discrediting it before the international community. I believe that somebody is behind them because they will not be so brazen in their actions if there is no one holding the strings, purse strings included, behind the scenes. Ask them who is paying for their expenses in going to the ICC? Are these funders public officials at present? If yes, are they using the public funds of their offices to undermine the government? If yes, they should be investigated and be made accountable. If, on the other hand, the funding is private, then it is still an act of destabilization. These destabilizers do not want the Filipino people to have a drug free future. They hate it when the greater majority of our countrymen benefit from the many gains of the Duterte administration. To them and their kind, I say, BRING IT ON!”, Secretary Aguirre added.