Lanao Sur official denies meeting with opposition
By Jigger J. Jerusalem
MARAWI CITY (Philippines News Agency) — Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr. has refuted the allegation that prominent opposition personalities and representatives of the prominent Maranao families in the province had met days before the siege of this city.
Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre claimed that Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Congressman Gary Alejano, and Ronald Llamas met with the scions of the Lucman and Alonto families prior to the crisis in Marawi.
In a press conference held at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Capitol Wednesday, June 6, Adiong said the meeting never took place. He added that Sen. Aquino was in Marawi last May 19 but for an official purpose.
Both Trillanes and Alejano are known to be critical of the Duterte administration, while Llamas is the former political adviser of former paresident Benigno Simeon Aquino III, an LP stalwart.
“I categorically deny that such meeting ever took place,” the vice governor said.
Adiong said Aquino’s visit in Marawi for the launching of the Lanao del Sur Negosyo Center, as the LP senator was the author of the Go Negosyo Law.
Adiong said he was compelled to answer the allegation after Aguirre’s pronouncement came out in online reports Wednesday afternoon.
Shortly after the news circulated, Adiong said Aguirre got in touch with him saying the media “misquoted” the Justice secretary.
“At 1:02 PM today [June 7], Secretary Aguirre called me up and said his statements were misquoted by the press,” he said.
Adiong assured that “the Alontos and the Lucmans and the entire provincial government of Lanao del Sur, the city government of Marawi City, and the Autonomou Region in Muslim Mindanao will “double our efforts in our coordination with the national government and our security sector to ease the tension and to bring normalcy back in our area.” (PNA)