MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said Tuesday the government will not present the supposed sex video of Senator Leila de Lima when the House Justice Committee resumes its inquiry into the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the state penitentiary.
Aguirre's statement came after several members of the upper and lower chambers of Congress, as well as other civil and human rights groups cried foul over the public showing of the alleged sex tape.
"Hindi naman ako ang nagpipilit noon eh actually it is the call of the committee," Aguirre told reporters before attending his agency's budget deliberations. [I did not insist on playing that video. It is the call of the committee.]
Aguirre claimed there is no need to play the video since there was sufficient evidence that would establish De Lima's intimate relationship with her driver and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan. De Lima has repeatedly denied allegations against her.
Aguirre however noted the video may still be used as evidence before a trial court.
"Kasi dapat mo maexplain bakit nakakapasok si Dayan [sa Bilibid]. Kung ito ay isa lamang ordinaryong driver sa Bilibid, bakit nakakapangolekta ng pera mula sa drug lords?" Aguirre said. [We have to explain why Dayan is able to go in and out of Bilibid. If he is just an ordinary driver, why was he able to collect money from drug lords inside the national penitentiary?]
Lawmakers have been pointing fingers on who should give the go signal on the presentation of the controversial video as House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez maintained that playing the video in the hearing will be up to the Committee, while Justice Committee Chairman Rey Umali said that will depend on whether or not the DOJ actually presents the video.
Instead of showing De Lima's alleged sex video, Aguirre will present 10 witnesses when the House resumes its hearing, including De Lima's security personnel, Junnel Sanchez, and others who claimed that they personally delivered money to then-Justice secretary De Lima.
It remains unclear if high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian can attend the hearing as he is still recuperating from the wounds he sustained during a bloody stabbing incident in the national penitentiary last week.
"Ang latest na sabi lang sa akin punctured din ang kaniyang lungs," Aguirre said. [I was told that his lungs were also punctured.]
Aguirre added that Sebastian should present a medical certificate should he fail to attend the House probe.