Aguirre thanks Duterte, stays mum on reason for quitting

RESIGNED Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II broke his silence Friday, April 6, with the issuance of a statement expressing thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing him to serve the government.

In his statement, Aguirre did not state the reasons for his resignation.

"I sincerely thanked our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the trust and confidence he reposed on me as his first justice secretary," the statement read.

He claimed that the DOJ under his leadership was able to make the DOJ better than its condition before.

"In our own humble way, we have delivered on our promise to make the DOJ better than when we found it," Aguirre said.

He added: "As I leave the Department of Justice, i find comfort in the thought that, by our collective efforts. We have improved the DOJ in key areas. We have achieved this by hard work and indomitable faith in the protection, providence, guidance of the Almighty."

Aguirre thanked all employees under him for their support and cooperation.

"Moving forward, I humbly ask everyone to welcome with the same degree of enthusiasm and cooperation, more if need be, the team of incoming Secretary Menard Guevarra," he said.

"There is only one DOJ, let us love and serve it to the best of our abilities," he added.

The President announced Thursday that he had already accepted the resignation of Aguirre. About two hours later, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced that Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra will be the new DOJ secretary.

Aguirre tendered his resignation about two weeks after reports surfaced about a DOJ resolution dismissing the drug charges against suspected drug lords Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa and their cohorts.

The decision did not sit well with the President. According to police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, Duterte punched a wall in MalacaƱang after he learned about it.

Aguirre has since reversed the decision and reopened the case.

Under Aguirre's watch, the DOJ also granted provisional coverage under the witness protection program to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. (SunStar Philippines)