In this April 4, 2018 photo, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre is shown along with other Duterte administration officials during the Cabinet meeting. Aguirre has resigned from his position, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech Thursday.
Presidential Photo
Duterte accepts Aguirre resignation
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) - April 5, 2018 - 4:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he has accepted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre's resignation after the Department of Justice drew flak for its handling of controversial cases.

"I [will] just also tell you now that I conferred with the officials, I accepted the resignation of Vit Aguirre, [my] fraternity brother, as Secretary of Justice," Duterte said in a speech Thursday afternoon.

Duterte did not give details on Aguirre’s reason for resignation. The president said that he is currently looking for a replacement for Aguirre.

Aguirre was handpicked by Duterte before the latter assumed the presidency. The two were classmates in the San Beda College of Law, where Aguirre graduated cum laude and class valedictorian in 1971.

READ: Six controversial cases that earned Aguirre criticism

Cabinet shake-up

Reports of a shake-up in the Cabinet have hounded the administration since news hit that the DOJ dismissed drug raps against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim, self-confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa, inmate Peter Co and a dozen others.

Duterte has expressed his ire for the said resolution, even telling Aguirre that the justice chief’s head would replace Lim’s should the latter run scot-free from the drug raps.

A few days later, it was revealed that the alleged brains behind the multi-billion pork barrel scam, Janet Lim-Napoles, was enjoying provisional government protection under the DOJ’s witness protection program.

A report by The STAR on Wednesday said that Duterte would be announcing Aguirre's firing on that day’s Cabinet meeting or later this week.

But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, when asked late Wednesday night on Aguirre’s reported resignation or firing, replied: “No such thing.”

READ: Cabinet meeting wraps up with Aguirre still justice chief

Discussed in the Cabinet meeting were the closure order on Boracay Island for renovation and the resumption of peace talks with communist rebels.

In the same speech, Duterte also announced that Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police Office chief, would be the next head of the Philippine National Police.

Albayalde is replacing Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who would be the next head of the Bureau of Corrections.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE KERWIN ESPINOSA VITALIANO AGUIRRE
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