Aguirre denies destroying documents
Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday denied having ordered his staff to destroy documents in his office before President Rodrigo Duterte accepted his resignation on April 5.
Aguirre called as “downright malicious” news reports about the supposed shredded documents, which new Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had said he would look into.
“I did not order any of my personnel to shred documents during my last day in office at the DOJ (Department of Justice). If any shredding was done, I know nothing about it,” Aguirre said in a statement.
Defending the practice of shredding office documents, he said any documents destroyed were considered trash.
“We can even surmise that it was done to get rid of unneeded … documents. In fact, shredding of documents is regularly done in public and private offices,” Aguirre said.
Several plastic bags
Asked for comment, Guevarra said he had not seen the photos that circulated online showing several plastic bags supposedly containing the destroyed documents from Aguirre’s office.
“We will try to find out who gave the order and what kinds of documents were disposed of. In fairness to Sec Vit (Aguirre), I will also ask him,” he said in a text message.
During his first DOJ flag-raising ceremony on Monday, Guevarra described the department as “corroded inside.”
“I hate to say that our department, as well as most agencies attached to it, is suffering from a huge image problem. The building remains the same but it’s somehow corroded inside; it looks solid but its structural integrity is suspect both literally and metaphorically,” said the former Malacañang deputy executive secretary.
“So it is my personal mission to restore the DOJ’s dignified and respectable image, to make it a cornerstone and not a mere pillar of our justice system,” he said.
Guevarra said he would make decisions “based on the rule of law with lots of compassion on the side.”
When he assumed office last week, Guevarra said the President had instructed him to put special focus on the prosecution of crimes on illegal drugs and terrorism.
He said he would prioritize the review of the dismissed drug cases against Cebu businessman Peter Lim, confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and other convicted drug lords.
He would also review his predecessor’s decision to place alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles under the DOJ’s witness protection program.
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