Guevarra named new DOJ chief

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has tapped Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra as the new Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary, replacing Vitaliano Aguirre II.

"I announce that President Duterte appoints Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra as Secretary ng Department of Justice," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. told Palace reporters in a chance interview Thursday, April 5.

The announcement was made two hours after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he has accepted Aguirre's resignation.

Read: Aguirre resigns as DOJ chief

Roque said Duterte signed Guevarra's appointment papers shortly after Aguirre quit his post.

"The appointment paper (of Guevarra)] was signed now and I suppose he will take oath right away," he said.

"Guevarra has proved his competence and intellect when it comes to laws. Secretary Guevarra also has integrity," he added.

Guevarra served as Deputy Executive Secretary for legal affairs at the Office of the President in May 2015. He was also appointed as commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission in February 2016.

Guevarra finished his Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Political Science, at the Ateneo de Manila in 1974. He placed second in the 1985 Bar examinations

Aguirre tendered his resignation amid criticisms over the DOJ's decision to drop charges against alleged top drug lords Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim and the move to put alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles under the provisional coverage of the government's witness protection program.

A day before Duterte announced that he had accepted Aguirre's resignation, Aguirre still attended the Cabinet meeting at the Palace. He was among the Cabinet members who cheered the President as he blew the candle on his birthday cake.

His resignation did not come as a surprise, as there were talks about Duterte's alleged plan to fire him anytime this week. (SunStar Philippines)
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