MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday said outgoing chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Aaron Aquino was not fired but will be transferred to a new post.
“I know that Aaron will be given a new assignment by the President so it’s not as if he’s being fired. He is just going to be transferred to a new post,” Roque said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart via Zoom. “I think the President thinks that Aquino would be better in a different office.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed PDEA North Mindanao director Wilkins Villanueva as new director-general of the anti-narcotics agency.
The President signed Villanueva’s appointment paper on May 22, according to a copy seen on Tuesday.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed the appointment of Villanueva but did not explain why Aquino was replaced.
“I assure you this is not a case of loss of trust and confidence. He will be just given a new assignment,” said.
Roque however could not yet disclose where Aquino will be transferred.
He said he could not announce sooner the appointment of Villanueva although he was informed early in the week about it.
“I was told about it, in fact it was Monday, I could not announce it until I had physically, the copy of the appointment paper as released by the Executive Secretary,” he said.
He added that Villanueva “beat them to it” when he announced his new post on his social media account.
“Mr. Villanueva beat us to it because as I said our procedure is we can’t officially announce until the papers have been releases but I guess in his excitement he posted it on his Facebook,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque said the President also wanted to thank former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr., for a job well done.
“We are hoping that he will finally enjoy his long deserved retirement,” he said.