MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon denied Charlie “Atong” Ang’s claim that they were involved in illegal gambling and that they wanted the controversial businessman dead.
“Mr. Ang is imagining things,” Aguirre said in a statement issued Friday, April 28, after Ang disclosed that the DOJ chief and Esperon allegedly wanted him killed and eliminated from the gaming business so the two Cabinet men would be able to control the operations of small-town lotteries (STL) in several provinces in the country.
Ang also accused Aguirre’s brother whom he identified as Engineer Ogie Aguirre of working with the DOJ secretary in allegedly controlling STL operations in Southern Luzon provinces such as Laguna and Batangas and in the Bicol Region.
Also, Ang alleged that Esperon was working with two generals in controlling STL operations in Northern Luzon, including Pangasinan.
Aguirre said Ang’s accusations were “all lies and fabrications” as he and his brother were “never involved in illegal gambling.”
“I am ready to face any kind of investigation that might be conducted, be it legislative, criminal or administrative. I am not afraid, I have nothing to hide. The truth is on my side. My conscience is clear,” said Aguirre.
According to Esperon, “it is very likely that” Ang “is concocting tall tales again as in past years or is simply paranoid, which is typical of people who engage in illegal activities.”
“He should show evidence or witnesses that I want to see him dead,” he said in a separate statement also issued Friday, adding that it would not be Ang but his illegal gambling activity that would be eliminated.
“Hindi siya ang mamamatay. Mamamatay ang illegal gambling niya.”
Aguirre said “everybody knows” that Ang is the owner and has the controlling interest of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation, “a company that is conducting gambling operations without paying the proper taxes due to the Philippine government.”
The DOJ chief suspected that Ang wanted to get back at him because he had ordered the raid on Fontana Leisure Park “that busted the billion-peso online illegal gambling operation that was being conducted thereat by his (Ang’s) business partner and best friend Jack Lam.”
“The records of PAGCOR will show that he is the attorney-in-fact of Jack Lam in the latter’s effort to settle his liabilities to the Philippine government due to illegal gambling operations amounting to more than P13 billion so that he could again do business in the country,” said Aguirre.
The DOJ chief urged Ang to present evidence of his accusation and file the appropriate charges against him in court.
But Aguirre said he knew that Ang won’t be able to sue him “because there is absolutely no truth to his accusation.”