In this undated file photo, former PDEA regional director Wilkins Villanueva (middle) presents a Chinese drug dealer.
The STAR/Joven Cagande, File
Wilkins Villanueva appointed as new PDEA chief
( - May 27, 2020 - 8:20am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Northern Mindanao regional head Wilkins Villanueva as the anti-narcotics agency’s new director general.

The appointment paper of Villanueva was signed on May 22. He will replace outgoing PDEA chief Aaron Aquino.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the chief executive “for giving me his trust and confidence to lead our country’s war on drugs” as well as to longtime Duterte aide Senator Bong Go and Senator Ronald dela Rosa for their “encouragement and support.”

“After almost two decades of serving our country on the field of drug law enforcement through different capacities and positions both with [Philippine National Police] Narcotics Group and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, I finally achieved was I was aiming for… director general of PDEA,” he said.

Prior to his stint as PDEA Northern Mindanao director, Villanueva served as chief of the agency’s National Capital Region office. He also served as the intelligence and investigation division chief of the Bureau of Customs.

Aquino, who was appointed as the agency’s director general in August 2017, did not step down from his post but was relieved, according to PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon.

“We all know that movement in key positions in government offices is the key sole prerogative of the president. In this case, outgoing DG Aquino will be assuming another position in the bureaucracy but we are not at liberty to disclose further details,” Carreon said.

Aquino shared the co-chair post of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs with Vice President Leni Robredo late last year. Robredo, who called for a revamp in the anti-drugs campaign and vowed to end “senseless” killings, was booted out from the post less than three weeks after she was appointed by Duterte. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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