Delos Santos resigns as BuCor chief

MANILA-- Director Benjamin Delos Santos of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has resigned from his post due to the reported resurgence of illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntilupa City.

"(The) issue about resurgence of (illegal) drug(s) trade has made me irrelevant. My irrevocable resignation effective immediately was filed thru SOJ (Secretary of Justice). I will refrain from further comments and take the vow of silence," said Delos Santos in a text message sent Thursday to reporters covering Department of Justice (DOJ).

He assumed the post last November replacing retired police Chief Superintendent Rolando Asuncion, who was the officer-in-charge of BuCor since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed presidency.

Delos Santos was a graduate of the San Beda College of Law. He served with the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group where he earned his star rank before he retired from the service.

He was also part of the campaign efforts of San Beda Law Lex Talionis Fraternitas that supported the presidential bid of Duterte in the May 9 elections.

Duterte was one of the members of the said fraternity.

Last July 5, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the reported resurgence of illegal drugs trade at the NBP.

Aguirre issued Department Order No.457 directing NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct probe and case build-up on the resurgence of illegal drugs trade and if evidence warrants, the NBI was also granted the authority to file the appropriate administrative and criminal cases against those responsible.

We wanted to get to the bottom of the reported resurgence of the (illegal) drug(s) trade in the NBP. We acted after verifying raw information provided by concerned individuals. I have said it before and I will say it again, we shall be relentless in fighting and eradicating the drug menace," Aguirre said in a statement.

Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act no. 10867, also known as the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act, whereby sections 4 and 5 provide for the powers and functions and jurisdiction of the National Bureau of Investigation which authorizes the President of the secretary of Justice to direct the NBI to undertake investigation of any crime when public interest so requires.

Further, Gierran is required to submit a report to Aguirre on its current activities related to the implementation of such order.

Aguirre said he will order a probe on some members of Special Action Force (SAF) who may have been involved in the resurgence of illegal drug trade inside the NBP.

I have received reports that there were some reactivation, we are doing something about this, we are going to end this resurgence, some sort of resurgence by some inmates. I talked to Director General (Benjamin delos Santos) last Saturday, and we know what we are going to do, Aguirre told reporters.

He noted that some members of the police's elite force may have been involved due to their familiarity with the inmates.

Aguirre said that changing of the guards at the NBP is expected by end of July.

He said he already talked to Special Action Force (SAF) Director Benjamin Lusad to change the SAF contingent inside Bilibid following information that there is a resurgence of illegal drug trade.

"We have already made a request to SAF less than a month ago. This (changing of SAF contingent) will take place in the fourth week of this month," Aguirre said.

More than 300 SAF contingents who have been deployed at Bilibid last year were supposed to stay only for three to six months and then they will be replaced by the Marines.

He added that the resurgence constitutes only about 5 to 10 percent as compared to the extent of the previous illegal drug operations.

The Secretary said he learned the resurgence of the narcotics trade mostly involve new players other than the high-profile inmates who have claimed giving millions to detained Senator Leila de Lima.

We have successfully curbed 75 percent of the illegal drug trade. If ever, the resurgence is about five to 10 percent only and we are going to clip it again, Aguirre said.

The DOJ chief considered the neutralization of drug syndicates inside the NBP as one of his biggest accomplishments during his one year term in office, a resurgence of such groups inside the facility should be dealt with immediately.

Aguirre noted that 70 to 75 percent of illegal drugs in the country were being trafficked from inside the NBP prior to the assumption of the Duterte administration.

Source: Philippines News Agency