MANILA -- Undersecretary Jose Marlowe Pedregosa has been designated as officer-in-charge of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) following the resignation of former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Dionisio Santiago, as DDB chair.
“Alam ko na yung papalit sa akin, yung kaibigan ko naman. (I know now who will replace me, he is my friend.) He was designated immediately as OIC. Si Gen. Pedregosa,” Santiago said during a radio interview Wednesday.
Pedregosa, a retired police general, served as DDB executive director from Jan. 28, 2013 to Aug. 30, 2016.
Santiago tendered his irrevocable resignation on Tuesday after Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea reportedly called him to say that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted him to resign.
His resignation came a few days after he publicly said the construction of a 10,000-bed drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija province was “impractical”, and after seeking presidential approval for a plan to combat narcotics through smaller community-based rehabilitation programs anchored on a family support system.
Despite the development, however, Santiago said his respect for President Duterte and his support for the administration’s war against illegal drugs remain intact.
“The respect is still there. The support will always be there. Sa akin, hindi naman kami nag-away (For me, we did not quarrel),” he said.
He, however, refused to comment on why he was asked to resign, saying that it was better to ask Malacañang.
“Kung may nangyari man… kaya ang sagot ko pag tinatanong nyo ako dito, (Whatever happened… and that is why I tell you whenever you ask me,) better ask them. Because if there is a deeper problem, deeper reason, they will know best. Hindi ako. Hindi ako pwedeng mag-explain, baka mali ang explanation ko (Not me. I can't explain. My explanation might be wrong),” Santiago said.
In succeeding interviews following his resignation, the former AFP chief repeatedly answered, “Malacañang is always right,” and “The boss is always right,” when asked to comment on why he was asked to resign.
In the meantime, he said he has no qualms about leaving the DDB since the body is already pointed in the right direction.
“Ang mga programs naman in place. 'Yung gusto nyong ituloy, ituloy nyo. Binilin ko naman, sabi ko i-institutionalize nyo lahat para hindi na mahirapan yung papalit, (The programs are in place. Pursue what you want to pursue. I have instructed that programs be institutionalized, so that my replacement would not have a difficult time.)” Santiago said. (PNA)