DOJ Sec. Aguirre recommends ex-AFP chief to head BuCor

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday recommended newly appointed head of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and retired general Dionisio Santiago to head the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a text message sent to reporters, Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said Aguirre will recommend Santiago to the Office of the President as possible replacement of Benjamin Delos Santos who tendered his irrevocable resignation. p>”SoJ (Secretary of Justice) recommended today as possible replacement Ret. Gen. Dionisio Santiago,” Balmes said.

Asked if there will be conflict since Santiago is also head of DDB, Balmes said will wait for the decision of Office of the President.

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).

“We thank Gen. De Los Santos for once again serving in the government and we wish him well in all of his future endeavors,” said Aguirre.

He added that Delos Santos will continue his functions as director general of BuCor until Pres. Duterte has acted on his resignation.

Delos Santos’ resignation last July 13 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 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/