Palace replacing PDEA chief: source

From a report by Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2012 06:53 PM | Updated as of Oct 06 2012 03:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Jose Gutierrez is on the way out.

A Palace source revealed President Aquino is now looking for a possible replacement for Gutierrez from a shortlist. This is amidst the controversies hounding Gutierrez and his wife and the extortion issue in PDEA.

President Aquino has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to submit to him the result of the National Bureau of Investigation probe on the matter as soon as possible.

The source said Aquino is worried the PDEA might be sidetracked from its mandate by the involvement of some agents in illegal activities.

The source added the President is also taking into consideration Gutierrez’s deteriorating health condition.

Ex-PDEA deputy chief Carlos Gadapan earlier accused Gutierrez of signing off on an P8 million extortion attempt against a Chinese drug suspect. The suspect, Mark Sy Tan, later confirmed the extortion attempt but denied that he paid any money.

A witness interviewed by ABS-CBN, however, confirmed the extortion, saying the money was coursed through her account.

Gadapan also accused Gutierrez of recommending his firing after he revealed Gutierrez’s wife had a gambling problem.