MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte had one directive, said newly- appointed ad interim secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Menardo Guevarra.
“The President’s sole instruction to me: DO WHAT IS RIGHT,” Guevarra said in a text message Thursday night after he took his oath of office.
In another text message early Friday, he said he would first “wind up” his tasks as Senior Deputy Executive Secretary at the Office of the President before reporting for work at the DOJ.
“The President told me to bring back the DOJ’s dignified image,” Guevarra said.
“The President seldom sees me, yet he entrusts such a sensitive position to me. I’m overwhelmed with such confidence,” he added.
Guevarra earned his bachelor of laws from the Ateneo de Manila University and placed second in the 1985 Bar examinations. He was in active private practice and a faculty member at the Ateneo School of Law until April 2015.
During Thursday’s press briefing at the Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte had signed Guevarra’s appointment papers and administered his oath of office on the same day.
He said Duterte did not want to wait until Friday to make the announcement, as the DOJ is one of the “most sensitive” departments.
According to the President, Guevarra is the perfect replacement for Vitaliano Aguirre II, whose resignation he had accepted, since he has “integrity,” aside from extensive legal knowledge.
When asked why Aguirre resigned, Roque said he did not see the resignation letter but noted that Duterte said that it was “just a matter of accepting a resignation tendered to him.”
As of this posting, Aguirre remained unavailable for comment. PNA-northboundasia.com