MANILA – An indirect attempt to destroy President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was how Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II described the loss of Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina after she failed to make it to the final top 3.
Speaking to reporters at his office Monday, Aguirre described the incident as “only an isolated incident” that was being used to tarnish the reputation of the country and in turn undermine public support for Duterte.
The president earlier agreed to host this year’s iteration of the Miss Universe pageant.
“Mayroong nagsasabi na ostensibly ang binibira rito ay ating candidate na si Maxine, ngunit ang latay nito ay sa ating Pangulong Duterte. Hindi magawang siraan ang pangulo dahil napakalaki ng suporta niya, kaya ang ginagawa ay siraan si Ms. Medina,” Aguirre said.
“Pag nasira nila si Maxine Medina, pag nasira ang katatagan ng mga beks, masisira ang tiwala at katatagan ng tao sa ating pangulo,” he added.
Aguirre however called on the Department of Tourism (DOT) to probe the case.
“Paigtingin nyo ang malalim na pagimbestiga sa nangyaring ito para matatagan ang ating mga sisters,” he said
At a later press conference, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo declined to confirm Aguirre’s statement about an alleged plan to use the Miss Universe result against her and Duterte.
She said they will dig deeper if they uncover links to such a plot.
“That did not come from me. That statement came from SOJ [Secretary of Justice]. Basta kami ngayon we will focus our investigation doon sa facts,” Teo said.