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Duterte sees potential in ex-DOJ chief Aguirre: Panelo

January 13, 2021 - Wednesday 8:01 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and President Rodrigo Duterte. (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II can serve well as commissioner of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.

Eh siguro may nakita siyang (Duterte) kakayahan ni (dating) Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre kaya ito ang nilagay niyang police commissioner (Perhaps, he saw potential in former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, that’s why he appointed him as police commissioner),” Panelo said in his commentary show “Counterpoint.”

Panelo issued the statement after detained Senator Leila de Lima taunted the President’s decision to appoint Aguirre as Napolcom commissioner, representing the private sector.

Panel said the detained lawmaker merely wanted publicity.

Kahit anong paksa ay pinapasok niya para ‘yung kaniyang pangalan ay ma-dyaryo. Kahit na ano — pandemya, bakuna — lahat, pinapasukan niya. Oh pati itong pag-appoint kay Vitaliano Aguirre, pinakialaman niya rin (She’s really persistent to ride on all issues to make headlines. She keeps on making comments on the pandemic, vaccine, and even on the appointment of Vitaliano Aguirre),” he said.

Aguirre served as Justice Secretary from 2016 to 2018. He resigned after Duterte expressed displeasure over the dismissal of drug charges against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim.

Panelo defended Aguirre, saying the latter is not facing any corruption charges, a ground for Duterte to allow the former Justice chief’s return to public service.

Duterte’s decision to appoint Aguirre as Napolcom commissioner should be respected, Panelo said.

Wala naman itong (Aguirre) demanda. At even assuming na dinemanda ng corruption, wala namang napapatunayan kung hindi igalang niyo ‘yung pag-appoint ni Presidente (He is not facing any cases. And even if he is facing corruption charges, it is not proven yet so the President’s decision to appoint [Aguirre] should be respected),” he said.

On Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Aguirre’s experience as justice secretary during the early years of the Duterte administration “bodes well in his new position to make the police service competent, effective, credible and responsive to our people’s needs.”

Napolcom’s mandate includes the administration of police entrance examinations, the conduct of a pre-charge investigation of police anomalies and irregularities, and summary dismissal of erring police officers. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

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