DOJ defers investigation on narco-prosecutors

Maris Federez   •   April 9, 2019   •   1502

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has deferred its investigation into the 10 public prosecutors who were included in the so-called narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that while the department is bent on conducting a probe on these alleged narco fiscals, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had been reluctant in revealing the names of the prosecutors and in sharing information with the DOJ.

“It is regretful that PDEA announced it before validation because everyone in the prosecution service as well as judges in the judiciary became a suspect at this point when the names are being withheld,” Guevarra added.

Guevarra said PDEA’s decision to withhold the names of the prosecutors could place the whole National Prosecution Service (NPS) in bad light.

The DOJ chief said that he has already prepared a letter requesting the names of the 10 prosecutors.

He added, however, that PDEA DG Aaron Aquino has said that they cannot share the information yet pending the drug agency’s validation of their report.

This prompted Guevarra to hold the transmittal of the letter and to just await the results of their validation.  – Maris Federez

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Lacson backs appointment of Villanueva as PDEA chief

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday lauded the appointment of Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

In a statement, Lacson described Villanueva as a “good and professional officer who is fit for the job,” and noted his “long career in drug enforcement.”

“The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA,” he said.

Lacson, a former national police chief, expressed confidence that Villanueva can handle his task of going after drug suspects amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him,” he said.

“I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others,” he added.

Villanueva will take over the post previously held by Aaron Aquino, who was assigned by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Clark International Airport.

Prior to his designation to PDEA’s top post, Villanueva led the PDEA Northern Mindanao.

Wilkins Villanueva is new PDEA Director General

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

Wilkins Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), replacing the agency’s outgoing chief Aaron Aquino.

Villanueva, who was assigned as PDEA Region 10 director prior to this appointment, served as the agency’s National Capital Region (NCR) chief.

He also served as head of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intelligence and investigation service.

In his social post, Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the President for trusting him to lead the country’s war on drugs.

“I will never fail you, Mr. President!” he wrote.

He also thanked Senator Bong Go and former PNP Chief Senator Ronald dela Rosa for the encouragement and support. 

Meanwhile, there was no mention of the nature of Aquino’s departure from the agency.

Nonetheless, he thanked President Duterte for the opportunity to serve.

“I sincerely thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust and confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve our people and his administration,” Aquino said.

Duterte appointed Aquino to PDEA in August 2017.

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Two suspects nabbed for selling injectable shabu online

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 20, 2020

Two men were arrested by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after they were caught selling illegal drugs in Mandaluyong City on Thursday (February 20).

A member of PDEA posed as a buyer and, after confirming the illegal activity, authorities arrested Mark Kenneth San Juan and Jeffrey Saclao.

Authorities seized 26 syringes of suspected liquid shabu with an estimate of P52,000. They also seized one sachet of suspected shabu worth around P13,600.

According to PDEA Spokesperson Derrick Carreon, the suspects are also selling drugs online based on their social media accounts.

Carreon also said the suspects target the youth using social media. He also warned about the negative effects of using drugs.

“So, maaari po talagang mangyari sa inyo ang mga hindi kanais-nais na mga bagay apart from the fact na it leads to (Bad things can happen to you apart from the fact that it leads to) the spread of several infectious diseases,” he said.

PDEA has taken custody of the two suspects and will face charges for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. —AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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