Former PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) Chief Dionisio Santiago admitted that the list of names of alleged narco-politicians and narco-cops read recently by President Rody Duterte is the same list he submitted to then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in 2010. But as we all know, it is only during the Duterte administration that the action began.
In an exclusive interview with Radyo Inquirer, Santiago said that then-President Noynoy Aquino instructed the PDEA to make a comprehensive report on the status of illegal drugs in the Philippines sometime in 2010, shortly after PNoy was elected. That time, the Aquino administration has just declared illegal drugs trade as a serious threat to national security.
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Santiago, who was appointed as PDEA chief in 2006 during the Arroyo administration, noted that the Duterte list contains names of local government officials allegedly linked to illegal drugs. The said list or Order of Battle (OB) includes governors, mayors, vice mayors, councilors and barangay captains who are suspected drug lords, protectors and distributors.
“Tinanggal nila ako, kasi ako raw yung tarantado, tapos ‘yung tarantado talaga, ‘yun ang napuwesto pa sa mas mataas na posisyon,” (They fired met, and told me that it’s because I’m stupid a**hole; it’s the real stupid a**hole who got promoted to a higher position) Santiago said, adding that he was fired 6 months after he submitted the list to Aquino.
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Dionisio Santiago was replaced by Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. in January 2011. However, Gutierrez resigned from the post in October 2012 after he allegedly pushed for the dismissal of PDEA deputy director general for operations Carlos Gadapan, who accused him of attempting to extort P8 million from a suspected drug lord named Mark Sy Tan.
President Aquino then immediately appointed former Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. to replace Gutierrez as the new PDEA chief. Cacdac was the last Aquino appointee in the anti-drug agency, and was replaced by retired Police General Isidro Lapeña on June 30, 2016, when President Duterte took his oath.
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Meanwhile, Santiago noted that he is not expecting the former president to make a immediate action because PDEA was then gathering enough evidences before they could file a case against those suspected drug personalities mentioned in that list. Nevertheless, the former PDEA chief said he is happy on the way President Duterte has been fighting against illegal drugs.