Just-resigned Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had left his position not because of his supposed involvement in the controversial dismissal of the complaint against alleged drug lords but because of the people’s loss of trust in him, an anti-corruption official said on Friday.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica defended Aguirre, maintaining that the former Justice chief did not approve the controversial resolution dismissing the complaint against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, and others.
“Ang malinaw po ‘yung (What was clear was) failure ng prosecutors to conduct a fair investigation right now based on evidences. Hindi naman talaga umabot pa sa kanya pero because of the fall nung respeto nung tao sa [kanya], he took it upon himself,” Belgica said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.
(The complaint did not reach him but because of the fall of the people’s respect towards him, he took it upon himself.)
President Rodrigo Duterte announced late Thursday he had accepted the resignation of Aguirre – his fraternity brother – as secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Aguirre’s resignation came after Malacañang said the President was displeased with the DOJ’s dismissal of the controversial drug complaint.
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra was immediately sworn in by Mr. Duterte as Aguirre’s replacement.
Two weeks ago, the PACC, in its recommendation forwarded to Malacañang, saved Aguirre from being placed on Duterte’s chopping block, asserting that Aguirre did not approve the resolution recommending the dismissal of the drug complaint.
The body instead recommended the preventive suspension of Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John M. Humarang; Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex F. Gingoyon, who endorsed the complaint’s approval; and former Acting Prosecutor General Jorge G. Catalan, who approved the complaint.
It also recommended a lifestyle check against former assistant state prosecutor and now Lucena Regional Trial Court Judge Aristotle Reyes, as he could no longer be suspended by Mr. Duterte because he was already part of the Judiciary. Reyes was also among the signatories in the resolution that dismissed the drug complaint against Lim, Espinosa, et al.