MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has named Bureau of Corrections Administrative Division head Rey Raagas as officer-in-charge until a new chief is picked for the bureau.
Aguirre issued Department Order 477 a day after BuCor chief Benjamin De Los Santos resigned is response to reports of the illegal drug trade returning to the New Bilibid Prison.
As OIC, Raagas will fulfill the ministerial duties of the post on top of his existing duties and responsibilities. Aguirre said this was issued “in order not to disrupt public service.”
“Mr. Ragaas is hereby authorized to perform functions in relation to the day-to-day operations of the bureau…” the order read, adding that it is effective immediately and shall remain in force until revoked.
De Los Santos resigned citing the alleged resurgence of drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison, which he said made him “irrelevant.”
Aguirre also released a letter recommending newly-appointed Dangerous Drugs Board chair Dionisio Santiago, a retired general and former director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, to also head the Bureau of Corrections.
The DOJ chief made the recommendation on July 14, a day after De Los Santos resigned. He addressed the letter to President Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence Go.
Aguirre said that he believes Santiago “can very well lead the BuCor.”
“Should the resignation of Director General De Los Santos be accepted, the position will become vacant and might leave a vacuum of leadership that will aggravate the already recurring drug problem in the national penitentiaries,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre’s letter indicated that Santiago previously served as a BuCor director from June 2003 to 2004.
Aguirre added Santiago is an international awardee, bemedaled soldier,…