UPDATE: DOJ chief appoints self Bucor
chief, joins prison raid for drugs


JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II will now personally head the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) after the resignation of its director.

In Department Order 505, which he issued on July 26, Aguirre said he would directly supervise the management and operations of BuCor amid a revival of the illegal drug trade inside its jails.

Aguirre quickly made his mark as head of BuCor in a raid of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) he headed early Thursday amid reports that the illegal drug trade was back in the detention facility.

Aguirre joined the 4 a.m. operation, along with Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald de la Rosa and Director Benjamin Lusad of the Special Action Force (SAF), in inspecting the minimum, maximum security and Building 14 compounds of the national penitentiary.

The results of the operation have not been released.

Director General Benjamin de los Santos submitted his irrevocable resignation last July 13 following the order of Aguirre to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the resurgence of drug trade inside the NBP in Muntinlupa City.

”In a view of the indefinite leave of absence of BuCor Director General Benjamin Delos Santos, the undersigned in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, vested by law with the powers granted under Republic Act No. 10575 or ‘The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013’ shall directly supervise the management and operations of the BuCor, which are not within the ministerial powers of its Officer-in-Charge,” according to the order.

Aguirre’s assumption as BuCor director will take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until further orders or until a new director general has been appointed.

”The concerned officials and employees of BuCor are directed to submit and bring the undersigned’s attention all matters that are beyond the authority of the BuCor officer-in-charge,” the order said.

It was Aguirre himself who revealed last July 3 that the illegal drug trade was back at the NBP where some inmates even tested positive for the illegal drugs.

Aguirre is now pushing for the appointment of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Dionisio Santiago as the next head of BuCor.

He said that he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to transfer Santiago to Bucor.

Santiago was former head of BuCor, which supervises jails intended for persons convicted of crimes, from 2003 to 2004. He was also former Armed Forces chief and head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). JOVILAND RITA



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