MANILA - Donning colorful wigs, members of Akbayan party-list on Monday picketed in front of the Department of Justice to call for the resignation of Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
The call was made by the group, composed of around 60 protesters, in light of the DOJ’s junking of drug charges against suspected big time drug lord Peter Lim, self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug dealer Peter Co, and several others, as well as detained businesswoman and alleged ‘pork barrel’ scam brains Janet Lim Napoles’ provional admission into the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
They also slammed Aguirre for alleged “fake charges vs. [the] opposition.” Last week, public prosecutors indicted one of the Duterte administration’s staunchest critics, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, for inciting to sedition.
“Secretary Aguirre is a coddler of dictators, drug lords and scammers. In a week, he freed confessed drug lords Espinosa and Lim and then gave witness protection to big time pork barrel scammer Janet Lim Napoles… Aguirre is on a roll with giving injustices a free pass. While criminals are free to go under his nose, the DOJ has been slapping fake cases against the opposition for exposing their incompetence,” said Shamah Bulangis.
Several lawmakers at the House of Representatives have also called on Aguirre to resign, while some senators hit the justice chief for the dismissal of the drug charges against the suspected drug lords as well as Napoles’ WPP admission. They said there is a possibility the government would "weaponize" Napoles to persecute the political opposition.
Aguirre told ABS-CBN’s DZMM Teleradyo on Monday he will only step down if President Rodrigo Duterte asks him to, or if he “feels” the president no longer trusts him.
Presidential Spokesman Secretary Harry Roque had assured Aguirre still enjoys the President's trust amid the clamor for him to quit his post.