- DOJ secretary retracted statement about Alontos and Lucmans meeting opposition lawmakers
- He apologized to both clans, said he never intended to implicate them in crisis
- He also clarified earlier statement, claimed media misquoted him
MANILA, Philippines – Was it a case of miscommunication?
After claiming that some local clans had met with three opposition lawmakers prior to the crisis in Marawi City, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III clarified that that the Alontos and Lucmans were never part of any supposed meeting.
“For the record, I did not say there was a meeting between the two families and some lawmakers prior to the Marawi siege,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying. “The said meeting never took place and no member of both families ever met with (Senator Antonio) Trillanes, Congressman (Gary) Alejano and (former presidential political adviser) Ronald Llamas.”
“There was no intent on my part to implicate the Alonto and Lucman families in the crisis Marawi City is currently facing. Both families have never been and shall never be a part of any plot to destroy or cause harm to anybody or any property,” he added.
Aguirre also clarified his earlier statement; saying he was just misquoted by the media.
“What I said was that there were reports that some opposition senators and leaders went to Marawi to recruit local politicians and warlords to destabilize the Duterte administration,” he said. “I never said that they were successful in recruiting any local politicians and warlords. To the Alonto and Lucman families, my sincere apologies for any confusion about this issue.”
In an earlier press conference, the justice secretary can be clearly heard announcing the Lucmans and Alontos as those clans who met the three along with Sen. Bam Aquino.
As proof of their possible connection to the Marawi crisis, Aguirre also showed those present a picture of Alejano, Trillanes, and Llamas at an airport—which was later confirmed by Zamboanga del Sur Vice Gov. Ace Cerilles as taken in 2015.