By Genalyn Kabiling
Former Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II is presumed innocent until proven guilty amid allegations of his involvement in the bribery scam hounding the Bureau of Immigration, according to a Palace official.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said those accusing Aguirre of irregularity should present proof before the proper authorities so an investigation could be conducted.
“That is a serious allegation. The one alleging it must provide information to the proper authorities so that that can be investigated,” Panelo said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.
“As lawyers, we always say everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” he aded.
Newspaper columnist Ramon Tulfo had earlier appeared before the Senate hearing and alleged Aguirre served as protector of the “pastillas” scheme at the immigration bureau. The illegal scheme allegedly involved Chinese workers paying hefty money to immigration personnel in exchange for easy entry to the country.
Aguirre has reportedly dismissed Tulfo’s allegations as lies and vowed to file a case against him.
Asked if Aguirre should be investigated, Panelo maintained that an investigation may commence only after a formal complaint is lodged.
“Kasi may serious allegation di ba so Mr. Tulfo – the one who is accusing him – should provide information to the proper authorities.
Because unless you provide authorities with any information on that, they will not investigate,” he said.
“Unless you submit proof to us, or there is a formal complaint, we cannot do anything,” he added.
Asked if the Palace believes the allegations against Aguirre, Panelo said he does not know the former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary personally. “We have no business dealing or official or even personal,” he said.