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Resignation clears Diokno for new gov’t post

MANILA, Philippines—Ernesto Diokno’s resignation from his post as director of the Bureau of Corrections has apparently put him in the clear.

A day after President Benigno Aquino III hinted at the possibility of another government post for Diokno, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said a person’s skills could not be limited to a specific area.

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Valte also said the administrative proceedings that were recommended against Diokno and that could have led to his dismissal from the government were rendered moot by his resignation.

Asked if Diokno still enjoyed the President’s trust so much that another appointment was possible, Valte said anything was “quite possible.”

“We can’t foreclose that kind of situation but … perhaps we should leave it at that. Mr. Diokno resigned,” she said, adding:

“But we’d like to think that a person is not confined to merely one [set of] skills, and competence cannot be boxed in one particular area.”

Presumed innocence

In reply to the question of whether Mr. Aquino had yet to decide on Diokno’s liability vis-a-vis the case of former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste’s unauthorized trip out of the New Bilibid Prison, Valte said the President was still reading the report of the fact-finding panel formed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

“As [the President] said [on Monday], the recommendation is for administrative charges with … dismissal as the sanction. So, if the person has already resigned, then his case would become moot and academic,” Valte said.

She went on to say that a person should be presumed innocent “until proven guilty by a competent board or … court.”

Nothing categorical

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De Lima herself has said that no criminal charges were recommended against Diokno.

Valte pointed out that during his briefing on the issue on Monday, the President did not say categorically that Diokno would be named to another post.

Mr. Aquino was asked if it was possible that Diokno would find himself in another government position, and he answered that if the latter had held on to his post amid the controversy, “the door would have been closed.”

“But he didn’t do it. So there is a possibility [of another appointment], but obviously not in a similar situation,” Mr. Aquino said.

The President also praised Diokno, a former police officer, for having the propriety to quit. “Delicadeza is very important to me,” he said.

He also admitted that he and Diokno went a long way back, with the latter standing by his family during the series of coup attempts against the administration of his mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino.

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TAGS: Antonio Leviste, appointment, Benigno Aquino III, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), Ernesto Diokno, resignation
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