Chichi Conde, InterAksyon.com, JV Arcena, Radyo Singko
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Bureau of Corrections Director Ernesto Diokno, under fire over revelations of special treatment for certain prisoners who are allowed to go in and out of jail, has tendered his irrevocable resignation, and President Benigno Aquino III accepted it Monday.
Palace spokesmen earlier declined to confirm the development, as Diokno was then still in a closed-door meeting with the President, to whom he submitted his resignation letter on the same day that a Department of Justice probe panel was to submit its report on the “favored-prisoners” scandal to the President.
Earlier in the day, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters she expected Diokno’s resignation soon, but said in an interview with Radyo Singko that she still can’t confirm if Diokno has already submitted his resignation letter to Malacañang.
Briefing the press later, the President thanked Diokno for his services and said he inherited a lot of problems, but added that someone had to be accountable for the mess, even if Diokno is known to be his close friend. Mr. Aquino said he had someone in mind to replace Diokno, but did not name this person.
Sources said the President was surprised by the “irrevocable” resignation, since Diokno had been saying publicly he will not quit because he was not to blame for the fiasco, where former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste was photographed going in an out of prison, where he is doing time for killing his long time friend and aide Rafael de las Alas.
In Bangkok last week, however, Mr. Aquino had hinted that Diokno may have to go, if he cannot satisfactorily explain how the prison mess happened without him knowing it.
Diokno delicadeza praised, administrative case mooted
President Aquino also praised his personal friend for his delicadeza in resigning amid the public uproar over the illegal trips of Leviste outside the New Bilibid Prisons.
Aquino said he received Diokno’s irrevocable resignation at 2 p.m. on Monday.
“I thank him for his service and delicadeza in resigning. His decision to
step down will pave the way for reforms, many of which he has already identified,” the President said.
The meeting between the President and Diokno, along with Justice Secretary de Lima, lasted for about 20 minutes, Aquino said.
Aquino stressed that public interest and not personal ties or friendship guides him in all his decisions.
“I praise him for making a decision based on his conscience,” he added.
Aquino recalled that when he spoke with Diokno two weeks ago, he expressed his dismay over Leviste’s trips outside the NBP.
“I expected him to be my eyes and ears,” Aquino said, adding that he felt “compassion” for his friend who inherited a lot of problems when he assumed the role of BuCor head.
“The recommendation against Diokno was for administrative cases. But since he already resigned, it has become moot and academic,” Aquino said. With a report by Jean Marc S. Reyes
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- Deferred (1rgcruz.wordpress.com)