Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described rumors linking Sen. Bam Aquino to the Marawi incident as “too absurd to be believed”.
In his exchange of text messages with the senator, Lorenzana assured Sen. Bam that he “never gave credence to rumors about the lawmaker’s presence in Marawi” days before the skirmish between the government troops and members of the Maute group, as they were “too absurd to be believed”.
Lorenzana also thanked the senator for his support for the Defense Department and their efforts to maintain peace and order in the country.
In a radio interview, Sen. Bam said Lorenzana also absolved him and other members of the opposition regarding the Marawi incident during a closed-door briefing on Martial Law.
“During the briefing, tinanong ko si Sec. Lorenzana tungkol sa mga fake news na kumakalat pero natawa lang siya at nagsabing walang katotohanan ang mga ito,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam sought Lorenzana’s clarification following Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre’s accusation that he and other lawmakers met with prominent families in Marawi City on May 2, three weeks before the incident.
On that date, Sen. Bam was the commencement speaker of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) at the PICC in Pasay City. In the afternoon, he attended the Senate session.
It was on May 19 that Sen. Bam attended the inauguration of the first Negosyo Center in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in Marawi City together with Vice Gov. Bombit Adiong, B/Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista and Gen. Nixon Fortes.
“Trade Sec. Mon Lopez has already publicly clarified and confirmed that I was in Marawi City for the Negosyo Center launch. These are easily verifiable for anyone who cares to find the truth,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam maintained that it would be prudent for Aguirre, as Justice Secretary, to clarify dates, seek evidence and request for official statements from legitimate government agencies before he makes yet another false accusation.
“This tragedy could have been an opportunity to unite the Philippines against a common enemy. Instead, it’s being used to further political interests and further divide our country,” he said.