Strike seven fells DOJ Secretary Aguirre

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Strike seven fells DOJ Secretary Aguirre

Topic |  

THE SPANISH- SPEAKING REGIONS, unlike most others, believe that “cats have seven lives”. The myth is strengthened by the cat’s ability to survive severe injuries- their dexterity and adaptability to situations.

One such cat, forgive the metaphor, seems to be Vitaliano Aguirre II, who resigned as Secretary of the  (DOJ) Department of Justice, mortally wounded by his apparent seventh faux pas that had his boss ,classmate and (Lex Taliones) fraternity brother, President Digong Duterte fuming like mad.

The seventh “mortal sin” came with the exoneration by a DOJ team of drug charges vs self-confessed drug lord Erwin Espinosa and the alleged Visayas drug kingpin Peter Lim, who despite his visibility remains scot free from formal, non -bailable charges.

The case put the president in horrible light -where while hundreds of poor drugs users and pushers are killed on the streets – the major “Big Fishes” get away with murder. Unofficial sources say- in a fit of rage- Duterte punched the wall in disgust.


Some damage must have been done on his 70-year-something fists. What were Aguirre’s seeming faults?

The first – was Aguirre’s compromising meeting with an aide of  Jack Lam, operator of a Clark casino and resort employing alleged 1,000 illegal alien workers. Reportedly, Aguirre’s instructions was for the BOI (Bureau of Immigration) agents Argosino and Robles to stay with the aide. Some P50-M in alleged bribe money changed hands as disclosed in a senate hearing that infuriated Senator Dick Gordon who said “Aguirre is not off the hook”.

The second- an alleged “fake news”  by Aguirre linking oppositionist senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes plus Party list Gary Alejano and Noynoy’s political adviser Ronald Llamas as having met the Alonto and Lacman clans on March 2- and instigated the Marawi uprising. (The “picture evidence” was later traced to be have been shot in faraway Iloilo City months earlier).

The third-  the downgrading of the murder charges against cops involved in the brutal murder of drug-lord  suspect Albuera Mayor Roland Espinosa (inside a government jail, good gracious).

The fourth- the clearing of some Bureau of Customs officials led by its former chief Nicanor Faeldon in the P6.4-B attempted smuggling of prohibited drugs at the pier.

The fifth- the continuing drug business proliferating inside the National Bilibid Penitentiary even after the alleged “mastermind” senator Leila de Lima (per the DOJ) has languished for more than a year in jail without formal trial- pointed to by drug lords themselves serving sentence in the Bilibid.


The sixth- the alleged intervention of Aguirre and the DOJ in the multi-million tax evasion cases filed by  the feisty Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmena against the Sy-SM Group in Cebu where the city mayor  accused Aguirre of receiving “settlement” money and must be disbarred (per Tommy).


But the seventh- is the final straw that broke the camel’s back. In a moment of anger, Duterte said that if Lim (of the drug triad) and Espinosa (Visayas drug kingpin family) go scot free with finality, he will jail Aguirre in lieu of them.

But even when free, Espinosa and Lim are ill at ease living their lives. Even before a formal trial, two of Espinosa’s henchmen have been gunned down.One – Noel Pepito was gunned down by a motorcyle-riding man in Albuera, Leyte last December. The other- Max Miro was killed in a police operations last March.

But as in many cases where friendship and bonds are involved, Aguirre was, however, given the honorable exit of a “resignation” instead of being fired unilaterally by the president.


Aguirre’s attempt to “review the Espinosa-Lim” cases did not save him. Because the  damage done  to the president and his anti-drug war was too much to let pass without ado.

Opposition senators and others were quick to call  the resigned Aguirre as  Mr Injustice, incapable, incompetent and without integrity.


The first marching order of the president to Aguirre’s replacement: Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevara was “Do what is right”.

The critics were quick to quipped” Has Aguirre been doing it all wrong?”.

Only the former DOJ chief, who had several hair-raising tussles beginning with the late senator Miriam Santiago to Tommy Osmena, can tell for certain.

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THERE WERE MORE SENIOR NAMES placed before him to take over the throne of exiting Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Ronaldo Bato of the 180,000 strong force.

As late as December 2017, the name of “logical” replacement- the current No. 2 Man in the PNP hierarchy as Deputy Chief Administrator for Operations General Ramon Apolinario loomed very large. An upper-classman of Bato in the PMA (Philippine Military Academy), he has an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) degree from the Ateneo de Manila.

There were also Gen. Camilo Gascolan (Chief Director for Operations), Gen. Archie Gamboa (Chief PNP Directorial Staff) and Gen. Fernando Mendez (Deputy chief for Operations).

But the anointment fell instead on Bato’s classmate (PMA 1986) Director of PNP for the National Capital Region Gen. Oscar Abayalde (54  years old with 3 children) from San Fernando City, Pampanga.

In an interview, Duterte said candidate-names were being floated to him bearing adjectives like “intelligent”, “senior” and “mabait”.  Abayalde was described as “Ok but medyo strikto”.The President made his choice of Abayalde right there.

His drug war in the NCRPO was one of the most successful. When he inspected his NCR unit stations- he came unannounced riding his own  big bike.

Thereupon, he discovered cops on the drug take, corrupt, sleeping on duty, sloppy and generally inefficient. He ordered the entire Caloocan police force of 1,000 men relieved from duty and removed 400 cop scalawags from their posts- most of them reassigned to Basilan in Mindanao.

Abayalde also became a high-profile figure when he headed the task force to maintain order during the recent ASEAN Meet and resolving the highly combustible mass shooting incident by  a lone gunman at the 5-star Resort Worlds Manila. 

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