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Aguirre dismisses resign call

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday dismissed the call of an opposition congressman for him to quit his post over allegations of incompetence and special treatment.

"The call for my resignation is without any factual or legal basis," Aguirre said in a statement issued hours after Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin urged him in a press conference to quit the Duterte Cabinet.

Villarin questioned Aguirre's fairness, saying the Cabinet official is going hard at opposition figures like Senator Leila De Lima, who is facing drug complaints before the Department of Justice, yet being soft on dismissed Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who were implicated in a bribery scandal.

Argosino, Robles, Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte are members of the San Beda College of Law-based Lex Talionis Fraternitas, Inc.

“If we have a Justice Secretary na hindi kaya magbigay ng hustisya, magbitiw na siya,” Villarin said.

Aguirre said he will continue to pursue his mandate to go after illegal drugs, corruption and criminality "for as long as" he enjoys the President's trust and confidence.

"However, if the President will ask me to resign, or if I feel that I have lost his trust in any way, I will not stay any moment longer. Hindi po tayo kapit-tuko sa posisyon," he said.

Aguirre faced the congressional Commission on Appointments (CA) last week but the panel decided to defer his confirmation following an opposition from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes took exception to Aguirre's statements calling him a coward, "gagong senador" and "sundalong kanin," which the Cabinet official made after the senator accused him of possible involvement in the BI bribery mess involving Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam. —Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News