Duterte picks Vitaliano Aguirre as justice secretary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2016 12:53 AM

Lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre II playfully poses with his iconic gesture that earned him a contempt citation during the Corona impeachment trial. Photo by Greanne Mendoza, ABS-CBN News

Aguirre wants to be friends with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

MANILA - Lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday night that he has been picked as justice secretary by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

Aguirre was the lead litigator in the Hubert Webb case and was a private prosecutor in the impeachment trial of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

He was a classmate of the incoming president in the San Beda College of Law. Aguirre graduated cum laude and class valedictorian in 1971.

Another Duterte classmate, Arthur F. Tugade, had been named secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication.  

Aguirre said in jest that all of Duterte's valedictorian classmates will be working for the next president.

CABINET APPOINTMENTS

Earlier in the week, Duterte’s camp made a series of announcements on appointees to several Cabinet positions.

Lawyer Salvador Panelo was named presidential spokesman. Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar has accepted Duterte’s offer to head the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

Former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Perfecto Yasay had been named acting foreign affairs secretary. 

Hotelier Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez has accepted the offer to head the Department of Finance after initially declining it. 

Duterte has offered Gilbert Teodoro the national defense portfolio, but the 2010 presidential contender said he would need more time to think about the offer.  

Meanwhile, Duterte has offered four Cabinet positions to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). These Cabinet positions are those from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

AGUIRRE'S RIFT WITH MIRIAM

During the Corona impeachment trial, Aguirre, then a private member of the prosecution panel, was cited in contempt after he was seen covering his ears during Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's diatribe against the prosecution at the Senate impeachment court. 

He later apologized to Santiago. Instead of a two-day detention, Aguirre was only admonished by the Senate impeachment court. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Aguirre said he hopes be friends with Santiago. - with a report from Greanne Mendoza, ABS-CBN News