Aguirre asks Delos Santos to stay as BuCor chief despite resignation


MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Benjamin Delos Santos to continue performing his functions as the bureau’s head despite having rendered his resignation.

“In the interest of service and in order not to hamper the operation of the BuCor, you are hereby directed to continue functioning as Director General of the BuCor, pending appropriate action on your resignation by the President,” Aguirre said in a memorandum issued Friday addressed to Delos Santos.

But Delos Santos said Aguirre can appoint an officer-in-charge (OIC) or an undersecretary to ensure the continuity of the bureau’s operation.

Delos Santos’ resignation came after Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the resurgence of drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

Aguirre will recommend newly-appointed head of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and retired general Dionisio Santiago to the Office of the President to replace Delos Santos who tendered his irrevocable resignation last July 13.

Santiago headed the DDB after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte fired Benjamin Reyes for contradicting him on the number of drug addicts in the country.

Apart from being former AFP chief-of-staff, Santiago also headed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Aguirre issued Department Order No. 457 directing NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct probe and case build-up on the resurgence of illegal drugs trade.

If evidence warrants, the NBI was also granted the authority to file the appropriate administrative and criminal cases against those responsible.

Delos Santos cited the resurgence of narcotics trading at the national penitentiary as the reason for going back to retirement.

“Having been prevailed upon not to on leave, I have since seriously considered the controversy as a signal for me to return to my retirement life,” he said.

Delos Santos assured he did not leave the BuCor in disarray and boasted leaving behind significant changes in the bureau.

“I am confident that the seeds of change have been amply spread in the rough and rugged road towards a reformed BuCor,” he said.

“I am sure capable successor will pick up from where I have contributed in our drive to stop drugs, crime and corruption,” added Delos Santos.

He assumed the post last November, replacing retired police Chief Superintendent Rolando Asuncion. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/