THE Commission on Appointments on Wednesday confirmed Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, despite efforts by Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th to block the appointment of one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s top aides.
“Happy I hurdled the Commission on Appointments, but there is still much work to do,” Aguirre told reporters after getting the powerful body’s nod.
Prior to his confirmation, Aguirre was confronted by Trillanes during the hearing of the body’s committee on justice and judicial bar council, in connection with the Justice chief’s remarks deemed offensive by the senator.
Trillanes referred to earlier statements by Aguirre calling him a coward, “gagong senador” (crazy senator), and “sundalong kanin” (useless soldier).
“I believe his (Aguirre) act of resorting to flagrant and shameless name-calling instead of responding to the issues is clearly uncalled for and unbecoming, unfit for the lofty and honorable position of a person considered for confirmation of secretary of Justice,” said Trillanes, who was allowed to speak even if he is not a member of the committee.
Aguirre apologized and said he values Trillanes’ opinions.
“Due to the pressure and volume of my work, I might have hurt people in my choice of words and for that I profusely apologize specifically to Senator Trillanes,” he told the committee.
Trillanes accepted the apology, which he viewed as sincere.
“I believe the Secretary has learned some lessons in this public episode and I take his word that this incident would not happen again,” said the senator.
The justice committee then went on an executive session to discuss other issues raised by Trillanes, but endorsed Aguirre’s confirmation to the commission plenary after the meeting.
In her sponsorship speech on the ad interim appointment of Aguirre, Sen. Loren Legarda described him as a “very highly intelligent man, with a sense of probity and integrity—qualities that are important in the performance of his duty in ensuring the effective, efficient and equitable administration of justice.”
Legarda also cited numerous awards received by Aguirre such as the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan, Outstanding Litigator of Lex Talionis Fraternitas in 2015, Distinguished Bedan Award in the Field of Law, and the Bedan Recognition Award.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito in his co-sponsorship speech said Aguirre’s career milestones and legal knowledge were incomparable.
“With this, I earnestly support his confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Justice,” he added.