Duterte appoints new DOJ, AFP, PNP chiefs

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed new chiefs to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement Thursday after Duterte, in a speech in Malacañang, mentioned that he has replaced some of his Cabinet members.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra was appointed as DOJ Ad Interim Secretary, replacing resigned Vitaliano Aguirre II.

This week, reports circulated that Aguirre had already submitted his resignation letter, while another report said Duterte was likely to fire Aguirre over the dismissal of drug trafficking charges against businessman Peter Lim and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

“President Duterte has appointed Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra as Secretary of the Department of Justice,” Roque told reporters in Filipino moments after Duterte’s speech.

He said Duterte has already signed Guevarra’s appointment papers and he is expected to take his oath “right away”.

Roque noted that Duterte did not want to wait until Friday to make the announcement, stressing that the DOJ is among the “most sensitive” departments.

He said Guevarra is the perfect replacement for Aguirre since he has “integrity” aside from extensive legal knowledge.

Guevarra, who holds the post of a cabinet secretary, will simply transfer his appointment from the Office of the President to DOJ.

“Because Congress is on recess, so valid ad interim appointment, he is a full-pledged Secretary,” Roque added.

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”.

Meanwhile, Roque said Duterte also appointed Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. as new AFP chief of staff, replacing Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who will retire on April 24.

Duterte also announced that he has appointed National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde as the new chief of the PNP.

Roque told reporters that Albayalde will take oath on April 18.

PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa will be the next chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) after his term ends on the same date Albayalde takes his oath. PNA