Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is back in government, this time as commissioner of the National Police Commission, the agency in charge of policing the Philippine National Police.
The 74-year-old lawyer will represent the private sector in the Napolcom, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“Mr. Aguirre served as Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary during the early years of the Duterte Administration. This bodes well in his new position to make the police service competent, effective, credible and responsive to our people’s needs," Roque said in a statement.
"Good luck to Mr. Aguirre in his present appointment,” he added.
Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte were classmates in the San Beda law school. Both are members of the Lex Talionis Fraternity. Aguirre was also lawyer for the then-Davao City mayor.
In the early years of Duterte's presidency, Aguirre gained prominence for cases filed by state prosecutors against the President's top critic, Sen. Leila de Lima over alleged drug charges.
De Lima, who has been detained since February 2017, denied any wrongdoing and branded the moves against her as political harassment.
In 2018, Aguirre resigned as justice chief after Malacañang criticized his department's dismissal of drug charges against confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and others.
But even after leaving the DOJ, Aguirre's name was again tagged in controversy. In early 2020 he denied allegations linking him to the "pastillas" scheme where bribes--rolled up similar to the famous milk candy--were paid for the smooth entry of Chinese nationals in the Philippines.