Malacañang said Tuesday the appointment of officials to the government is an “exclusive” call of President Rodrigo Duterte after senator Leila de Lima criticized the return of former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to government service.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Aguirre’s appointment was criticized by Duterte’s critics, including the jailed senator De Lima, saying nobody could ever question Duterte’s appointments.
“Presidential appointments are the sole and exclusive prerogative of the President. Nobody can ever question those kinds of appointments,” Roque said.
The President appointed Aguirre as a commissioner of the National Police Commission. He resigned two years ago for bungling several controversial cases, including the dismissal of the drug charges against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim and his co-accused Erwin Espinosa.
According to Roque, appointing people in government is a right granted to a President by the Constitution and he does not have to explain his decision to anyone.
“The President does not need to justify his appointments. That is his sole, exclusive prerogative,” he said.
“Senator De Lima should wait to become President so she could appoint who she wants.”
Duterte and Aguirre both studied at the San Beda College of Law. The two were fraternity brothers at the Lex Taleonis Fraternitas.
Aguirre lawyered for Duterte in the late 2000s when then Commission on Human Rights head Leila de Lima wanted an investigation into the Davao Death Squad.