CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is hopeful that former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II will still file charges against him in relation to the latter’s allegation that he is a drug protector.
He is ready to answer such charges, Osmeña said in a news conference yesterday.
“This is only the beginning of my fight against SM. I have a long way to go. In the meantime, I hope Aguirre will continue to file charges against me so I can answer them. I’m not avoiding that issue. I’m ready, willing and able to answer it,” he told reporters.
Osmeña had accused Aguirre of meddling in the cases the City Government filed against SM Prime Holdings Inc. and two branches of BDO for underdeclaring their tax due to the City.
Aquirre, in Department Order 227 dated April 6, 2017, directed the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office to inhibit and cease from conducting and resolving the preliminary investigation of the case that the City filed against BDO.
The move was in response to the request of a bank official.
Asked if he will refile the case, Osmeña said that city lawyers are working on it.
The mayor said he will run after Aguirre even though the latter has resigned.
However, Osmeña clarified that his real enemy is SM.
Apparently, Osmeña was not the only one who welcomed the news of Aguirre’s resignation.
Carmen Remedios Meca, Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) head, said that with Aguirre gone, maybe the Department of Justice (DOJ) will stop focusing on prosecuting small-time drug peddlers.
“His resignation is a sign that the President is serious in his war against illegal drugs,” she said.
Meca felt that Aguirre did not live up to the administration’s promise to eradicate illegal drugs, especially with the dismissal of cases against high-profile drug personalities like self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
Gov. Hilario Davide III, in a separate interview, said Aguirre’s downfall may have been the latter’s own making.
“We know Secretary Aguirre was working on prosecuting high-profile drug suspects. His failure to do so may have driven the President to approve his resignation,” Davide said.
The governor and Meca also welcomed the appointment of Oscar Albayalde as the new chief of the Philippine National Police.
Meca hopes that under his leadership, the police can focus on targeting the supply and trafficking of illegal drugs.