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Aguirre designates Raagas as BuCor officer-in-charge

By Julius N. Leonen

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Administrative Division chief Rey Raagas as the officer-in-charge of the agency following the resignation of its director general, Benjamin de los Santos.
The Justice chief, in his department order signed July 13 but made available to reporters yesterday, named Raagas as the officer-in-charge of the agency after de los Santos refused to stay in position after tendering his irrevocable resignation.
“Raagas is hereby authorized to perform functions in relation to the day-to-day operations of the bureau, functions delegated to the director general... and such other ministerial duties that are essential in order not to disrupt public service,” read Aguirre’s order.
Moreover, Aguirre has formally recommended to President Duterte the appointment of retired general Dionisio Santiago, who was recently appointed to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), as the next BuCor head.
Santiago had previously served as chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He had also previously headed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Santiago was appointed to the DDB after the President fired Benjamin Reyes for contradicting him on the number of drug addicts in the country.
“In my humble opinion, General Santiago can very well lead the BuCor,” Aguirre said in his letter to Duterte.
De los Santos tendered his irrevocable resignation as chief of the BuCor following Aguirre’s revelation to the media that the notorious illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) has made a “resurgence.”
During a chance interview last July 3, Aguirre admitted that there has been a “resurgence” of the drug trade at the NBP. He ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the reports.
While Aguirre asked de los Santos “to continue functioning as director general of the BuCor, pending appropriate action,” the latter refused, insisting that the Justice chief can just appoint an officer-in-charge or an undersecretary to take over.
In a text message to reporters last Thursday, de los Santos said: “The issue about the resurgence of drug trade has made me irrelevant.”
He tendered his irrevocable resignation last Thursday, July 13, when he wrote to Duterte that he has since “seriously considered the controversy as a signal” for him to return to his retirement life.
“Please accept my profound gratitude for giving me the opportunity to serve our country again. I am confident that the seeds of change have been amply spread in the rough and rugged road toward a reformed BuCor,” de los Santos said in his letter of resignaton.


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