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BuCor now under DOJ chief’s direct supervision

Photo courtesy of Joy Gumatay

MANILA, July 27 — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday announced that he will be directly supervising the management and operations the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

This after Director General Benjamin Delos Santos submitted his irrevocable resignation last July 13 due to the reported resurgence of drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (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,” Aguirre said in his Department Order no. 505 dated July 26, 2017.

The order takes effect immediately and shall remain 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,” it added

Last July 17, Aguirre named Rey M. Raagas as officer-in-charge of BuCor to replace Delos Santos who refused to stay in office while President Rodrigo Duterte acts on his resignation.

Earlier, Aguirre formally recommended to President Duterte newly-appointed head of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and retired general Dionisio Santiago as Delos Santos’ replacement.

“In my humble opinion, General Santiago can very well lead the BuCor,” Aguirre said in his letter to Duterte.

Santiago headed the DDB after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte fired Benjamin Reyes for contradicting him on the number of drug addicts in the country.

Apart from being former AFP chief-of-staff, Santiago also headed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and was a former head of BuCor from June 2003 to September 2004.

Aside from NBP, BuCor’s other operating units include Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte, Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Iwahig Prison, and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City and the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.

Both the BuCor and the NBI are attached agencies under the DOJ. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan with Vanessa Panesa-OJT/PNA)

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