Restoring the DOJ’s ‘dignified image’

What was left unsaid may sometimes speak volumes about how we feel towards another person.

          In accepting the resignation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguiire last Thursday, neither President Rodrigo Duterte nor his spokesman did not mention any reason for doing so.

          But Duterte's marching order to newly appointed Acting Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra the day after accepting Aguirre's resignation  says a lot about his assessment of the performance of the former Justice Secretary, who is his former classmate and fraternity brother. 

          “Bring back the dignified image” of the Department of Justice (DOJ).was what Duterte told Guevarra. 

          What this tells us is that the President had simply lost his trust and confidence in Aguirre for destroying the reputation of the Justice department through his questionable actions. 

          Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier quoted the President as saying that he was displeased with the DOJ decision to dismiss the drug charges against several confessed drug lords, including Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim, in a move seen as a setback in the government’s war on drugs.

          Aside from the dismissal of charges against the confessed drug lords, other controversies hounded Aguirre in his two-year stint as head of the DOJ, including his claim that several opposition lawmakers were behind the terror attack in Marawi City in May last year.

          Aguirre's name had also been dragged into the case of two Bureau of Immigration commissioners, his fellow members in the Lex Talionis fraternity of San Beda College, who allegedly received P50 million in bribes from a gambling lord who had illegally recruited hundreds of  Chinese nationals to work in his online casinos. 

          All this sullied Aguirre's reputation, with some in social media even referring to him as "Secretary of Injustice". Sen. Risa Hontiveros also issued a statement describing Duterte's acceptance of Aguirre’s resignation as “too late the hero for Justice Zero.”

          Guevarra faces a big challenge, therefore,  in restoring the "dignified image" of the DOJ. Can he do it? Let's see what he can do in his new post.