Press Release
December 14, 2016

Koko gives Aguirre vote of confidence, calls for BI modernization

Senate President and PDP Laban President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Wednesday expressed his support for Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II in the wake of corruption allegations that currently hound the Bureau of Immigration, an agency under the Department of Justice.

Secretary Aguirre has recommended the dismissal of two BI deputy commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, to President Rodrigo Duterte and relieved BI intelligence chief Charles Calima over charges of extortion

Pimentel said, "As PDP Laban President, I am proud of my partymate, Vit (Aguirre). I, and the rest of the party, believe in his integrity and welcome his actions to support President Duterte's war against corruption."

PDP Laban counts President Duterte, Senate President Pimentel, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Secretary Justice Aguirre among its members.

Pimentel also advocated a revamp of the Bureau of Immigration, which he said is in need of unity and modernization.

Pimentel said, "As the former chair of the Justice Committee, I am aware of the challenges faced by the Bureau of Immigration, and its desperate need for modernization."

Pimentel recounted that there was a time when three of the top officials of the BI did not agree with each other, and avoided attending hearings together.

Pimentel said, "Obviously, the problems faced by BI is systemic and needs a systemic solution. There is no better time for a revamp than now, when Vit is on top of things and there is a chance to shed light on all the anomalous activities within the agency."

Pimentel observed that corruption will flourish so long as the regulations and conditions that allowed them to proliferate are not changed.

The Senate's Justice and Human Rights Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and its attached agencies on legislative matters and budget concerns.

Pimentel, then chair of the Justice Committee, was instrumental in the passage of the NBI Modernization Law, or RA 10867, earlier this year.

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