‘I was not asked to resign in 2018’ — Aguirre

Published January 28, 2021, 6:21 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III on Thursday belied criticisms that he was asked by President Duterte to resign in 2018 due to graft and corruption.

Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Aguirre, who was present at the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing on the spate of killings in the country, said his reappointment in government as commissioner at the National Police Commission (Napolcom) recently “speaks for itself.”

The former justice secretary’s statement comes after the Senate panel tackled the unresolved “cold cases” and the apparent lack of lawyers in the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).

Aguirre had denied claims he ordered the dismissal of the complaints against suspected drug lords Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim and their co-respondents in their drug case.

According to Aguirre, the complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG lacked copies of the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the Senate hearing, which supposedly contain evidences against Lim and Espinosa.

“Di ko malaman kung incompetence or lack of lawyers. Very basic na doon sa ginawang complaint ng CIDG, hindi nila naisama ang TSN ng Senate hearing, (I don’t know if it’s incompetence or lack of lawyers. It’s very basic that in the CIDG’s complaint, they were unable to include the TSN during the Senate hearing),” he said.

“Yun ang nagko-contain ng lahat ng ebidensya (That contains all the evidence) against Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa” he further said.

But in order to spare the President from public backlash, he decided to resign from his position in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Hindi po naniniwala ang mga ibang kolumnista na nag-resign ako, ang sinasabi nila ako raw ay pinag-resign gawa ng graft and corruption,” he said.

“The mere fact that I was reappointed by the President in a position in government speaks for itself,” Aguirre told the panel chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.