MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Jose Gutierrez Jr., who was linked to an P8 million extortion attempt on a suspected drug lord, did not resign his post and was replaced without his knowledge, a PDEA spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
PDEA spokesman Derek Carreon told ABS-CBN News he talked to Gutierrez who confirmed that he did not submit a resignation letter.
“As far as we know, ako rin po wala akong knowledge regarding any resignation letter,” he told Punto por Punto host Anthony Taberna.
“Ultimo siya mukhang hindi updated sa developments. Ang sabi niya outright sa akin wala naman siyang na-file na resignation,” he added.
He later told ABS-CBN News that Gutierrez is now deemed "resigned" and that there was a delay on the transmittal of information from the Palace to PDEA.
He said Gutierrez accepted Malacañang's orders and said he serves at the pleasure of the President.
Carreon said the ex-PDEA chief will not grant media interviews, preferring to exit the agency quietly.
In the UKG interview, Carreon said PDEA personnel are ready to serve anyone appointed by President Aquino to lead the agency. He said the top three PDEA officials are presidential appointees.
An ABS-CBN News report on Tuesday revealed the appointment of former Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. as the new head of PDEA. He took his oath before Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.
In a text message, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Gutierrez resigned from his post.
Gutierrez has come under fire after his former deputy, Carlos Gadapan, accused him of backing an P8 million extortion attempt on suspected drug lord Mark Sy Tan. He also said Gutierrez's wife has a gambling problem.
Gadapan was removed from his post after Gutierrez wrote a letter to the Office of the President, asking for Gadapan’s removal.
In the interview, Gadapan said a National Bureau of Investigation inquiry showed that Gutierrez’s allegations against him were fabricated.
He said the NBI probe also uncovered enough evidence to prove that some PDEA men conducted extortion against Tan.
“I believe very strong yung evidence, testimonial, material at iba pang ebidensya na magpapatunay na yung P8 million extortion activity ay talagang nangyari at na-involve dito yung mga ahente na na-identify ng mga biktima,” he said.
‘Ex-PDEA chief got P2M’
Gadapan said there are also witnesses who will prove that Gutierrez got a P2 million cut from the extortion activity.
“Talaga pong naging beneficiary po siya. Yan mismo ang impormasyon na natanggap namin. (How much?) P2 million,” he said.
Gadapan said he is willing to return to PDEA and serve under the new PDEA chief. The sacked PDEA deputy chief earlier revealed that his first wife was a drug addict, which started his personal crusade against illegal drugs.
Asked for his message to Gutierrez, he said: “Nanghihinayang ako dahil naging biktima siya ng maling advices. Dahil sa nakikita ko na ito, yung mga reports na yun ay isang gawain ng mga taong talagang ang gusto ay guluhin ang gawain ng PDEA. Siguro may purpose ang lahat ng nangyayari na ito. At sana kung ano man ang maging plano niya, sana’y gabayin siya ng Poong Maykapal.”
For his part, Cacdac said he will leave the investigation up to the NBI as he is more interested in strengthening the PDEA’s campaign against illegal drugs.
He said he is also interested in cleansing the PDEA’s ranks.
“Yung internal cleansing gagawin po natin yan. Kailangan lahat susunod sa ipinagbilin ng Pangulo na obserbahan natin yung tuwid na daan. Yun po ang dapat basic na ipatupad sa PDEA,” he said.
He also said he will wait for the formal invitation for the turnover so he can sit as the new PDEA chief. With a report from Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News