By Genalyn Kabiling and Chito Chavez
President Duterte has appointed anti-illegal drugs enforcer Wilkins Villanueva the new director-general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
(PDEA), replacing Aaron Aquino.
The President signed Villanueva’s appointment paper last May 22.
Executive Secretary Salvador Mediealdea has confirmed the appointment of the new PDEA chief.
The change of leadership was also confirmed by PDEA Spokesperson Derrick Arnold Carreon, who said in an interview on Tuesday (May 26) that Aquino will be transferred to another government post, adding that at this time he was not in a position to reveal any more details.
Prior to his appointment, Villanueva served as regional director of PDEA- Region 10 (Northern Mindanao). He previously had a brief stint at the Bureau of Customs-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service.
Aquino, a retired police official, was appointed to lead the PDEA in 2017. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985.
Asked by reporters to confirm the PDEA appointment, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said: “Paper not out yet. I know of it but can’t confirm until ES (Executive Secretary) releases the appointment paper.”
In a statement, Villanueva thanked President Duterte for his trust and confidence and said he will not fail him in leading the agency in the government’s fight against illegal drugs.
In a phone interview, Villanueva said he will proceed to the PDEA headquarters in Quezon City next week to assume his post.
He also thanked senators Bong Go and Ronald dela Rosa for their support and encouragement.
Villanueva also said he finally achieved his goal of heading PDEA after almost two decades “of serving the country on the field of drug law enforcement’’ both in the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and PDEA.
For his part, Aquino, in a statement, thanked the President “for his trust and confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve our people and his administration.”
“I also thank the men and women of PDEA for their support [of] my leadership and dedication to the agency. Thank you for the honor of serving as the 6th Director General of PDEA,” he said.
“God bless us all on our next journey.”