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Aguirre rejects calls for his resignation

Protesters wearing wigs prepare to submit a petition demanding the resignation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II outside the Department of Justice in Manila yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday rejected anew calls for his resignation.

“I serve at the pleasure of the President. While I respect the view of everyone to express themselves freely, I will stay for as long as I enjoy the trust and confidence of the President,” he said in a text message.

Aguirre was responding to calls for his resignation made by a group of militant students who stormed the Department of Justice compound wearing colorful wigs and an online petition on www.change.org signed by 17,000 persons so far.

The 807-page petition, which was submitted to his office, cited as basis for the resignation call Aguirre’s alleged spreading of fake news.

It included the incident where the justice chief accused opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino of planning the conflict in Marawi City as part of a destabilization plot against the Duterte administration by showing a photo of a meeting, which turned out to be an old photo taken at the Iloilo airport.

The petition also cited Aguirre’s reported exchange of messages with former congressman Jacinto Paras to expedite the filing of a criminal case against opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

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“Aguirre must vacate his post at once to protect the public from his machinations. A scheming secretary of justice is an injustice to the victims of the killings,” the petition stated.

Hontiveros earlier called for the resignation of Aguirre, which the latter also rejected.

Aguirre has dismissed the mockery on his “fake hair,” which was again demonstrated by yesterday’s protesters led by the group Youth Resist. 

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