MANILA — The appointment of officials to the government is an "exclusive" call of President Rodrigo Duterte, his spokesman said on Tuesday, after a lawmaker criticized the return of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to state service.
Duterte appointed Aguirre as a commissioner of the National Police Commission, nearly 2 years after he resigned as Justice chief following public ire on the handling of various cases.
This had prompted detained Sen. Leila de Lima to comment on Twitter, "Duterte should appoint himself to the National Solid Waste Management Commission. Magaling talaga siya mag-recycle ng basura."
(He is good at recycling trash.)
De Lima is angry with Aguirre because it was during his term at the justice department that she was jailed for drug charges, said Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque.
"Appointment is the exclusive prerogative of the President. Maghintay po si Sen. De Lima na maging Presidente siya para ma-appoint niya ang mga gusto niya ma-appoint," he told reporters in an online briefing.
(Sen. De Lima should wait to become President so she could appoint who she wants.)
De Lima has said the drug charges against here were politically-motivated over her criticism of the killings in Duterte's anti narcotics drive, which his aides have denied.
She said Aguirre used convicted drug traffickers to testify against her while dropping drug charges against confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, his co-accused Peter Lim, and several others.
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