De Lima: Aguirre perfect for Duterte's 'corrupt' gov't
MANILA, Philippines – For detained Senator Leila de Lima, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II should "never resign" as he is "perfect" for a government led by someone like President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Aguirre should never resign. He is perfect for this kind of criminal and corrupt government, and for a criminal and corrupt President," De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame on Saturday, March 17.
De Lima made the statement amid speculations about Aguirre's fate in the Cabinet following controversies at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Days after it was reported that a DOJ panel had recommended the dismissal of charges against alleged big-time drug lords, Duterte supposedly told some journalists that there will be changes in his Cabinet as he was unhappy with the performance of some officials. Aguirre had said he didn't feel alluded to.
As for De Lima, even if Aguirre left the Cabinet, the "problem" would still be there.
“It is useless to ask Aguirre to resign, because he is not the problem. Duterte is. Without Duterte, someone as obnoxious and corrupt as Aguirre won’t even be DOJ Secretary,” she said.
The latest to hit the DOJ is Aguirre’s decision to give state protection to Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
De Lima said that Napoles is also an “ideal witness for a crooked administration.”
De Lima recalled that Napoles was not a credible witness and would do whatever she can to evade prosecution. (READ: TIMELINE: Pork barrel scam 'queen' Janet Napoles: From suspect to witness)
The senator said that when she was justice secretary and asked Napoles to execute an affidavit which was supposed to get her entry into the Witness Protection Program (WPP), Napoles asked her, “Sino ba ang gusto niyong isama Who do you want me to implicate)?”
“Napoles is no different from a karaoke club regular. She will sing anything she is asked to. She is indeed the ideal witness for a crooked administration, to use against its critics and vocal dissenters,” De Lima said.
In May 2017, Aguirre announced on television that Napoles had tagged opposition senators in the pork barrel scam, including De Lima, and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, and Franklin Drilon. Aguirre’s source then was Napoles’ lawyer, Stephen David, who has his own connections to Malacañang.
Aguirre has reopened an investigation into the pork barrel scam that targets the opposition, particularly former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.
The opposition has called Aguirre’s move to give state protection to Napoles as a “crazy, unbelievable development.” – Rappler.com