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Duterte wants Guevarra to restore DOJ’s ‘dignified image’

Pia Ranada
Duterte wants Guevarra to restore DOJ’s ‘dignified image’
This comes after lawmakers called on President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a justice secretary who is 'credible, capable, and respectable'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders for newly sworn-in Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is for him to restore the “dignified” image of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“The President told me to bring back the DOJ’s dignified image,” Guevarra said in a text message on Friday, April 6.

The day before, Duterte accepted Vitaliano Aguirre’s resignation from the post, after  a series of misfires by the DOJ, including the dismissal of charges against suspected  drug lords Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, and others

After an angry Duterte threatened to replace him if the alleged drug lords are cleared, Aguirre nullified the findings of the panel of prosecutors and ordered a new probe. But this was not enough to save his appointment.

Lawmakers, especially those from the opposition, have been calling for the resignation of Aguirre because of several blunders and controversies.

These controversies include being linked to the P50-million Bureau of Immigration bribery scandalspreading false information against lawmakers over the Marawi siege, downgrading the murder charges against cops in the death of Albuera Mayor Roland Espinosa, clearing former Customs officials including Nicanor Faeldon in the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case, and the continuing drug trade in the National Bilibid Prison under his watch.

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros had said that under his leadership, Aguirre “turned the justice department into a leading purveyor of fake news, a manufacturer of fake legal cases to harass the opposition, and a refuge for drug lords, plunderers, and other high-profile criminals.”

Guevarra has not yet reported to the DOJ as he was “winding up” matters at the Office of the President, where he was Senior Deputy Executive Secretary. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.