Duterte appoints ex-PDEA chief as new drugs board chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2017 12:27 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2017 12:48 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday announced the appointment of former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director, General Dionisio Santiago as the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Santiago is fit for the job as he shares President Rodrigo Duterte's advocacy of fighting illegal drugs.

"General Santiago’s return to the national government with his appointment to the DDB will greatly contribute to the President’s vision of a drug-free Philippines," said Abella.

Santiago's first day of duty will official start on Monday. In an earlier interview with ABS-CBN News, Dionisio said he will be pushing for amendments in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

President Duterte previously fired Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Benjamin Reyes for supposedly contradicting the government’s official data on drug addicts in the country.

Duterte said he was irked when Reyes, citing a DDB survey, cited data that there were only 1.8 million drug users in the country during a forum attended by UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.

The President said Reyes contradicted the government when he used this figure. Duterte insisted that there are now about 4 million drug users in the country.