Drugs Board chief asked to resign for accepting bribes from narcopolitician – Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chief to resign due to alleged corruption, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

Retired general and former DDB head Dionisio Santiago was alleged to have received a house from a narcopolitician and spent government money on junkets abroad, the palace said.

"I would like to confirm that General Santiago was let go by the President not only because of his statements on the Mega Rehab Centers being a mistake. He was also let go because of complaints that General Santiago was using taxpayers' money for junkets abroad... There were also complaints that General Santiago may have accepted consideration from major drug players," Roque said in a press briefing.

The DDB Employees Union wrote a letter addressed to the Office of the President dated October 25, in which they expressed their complaints against Santiago, Roque said, quoting parts of the employees' letter.

"One of the complaints that reached the President was a trip to Austria, where in addition to bringing family members, General Santiago brought six of his closest personnel, including a girl Friday," Roque said.

Santiago also traveled to the U.S in September with an "alleged mistress" and "selective favorite DDB employees," Roque said.

"For both meetings, attendance only requires the presence of the DDB Chairman... This is an extravagant use of government resources and abuse of authority," the complaint from DDB Employees Union read. A copy of the complaint was provided by Roque.

Santiago received favors from alleged narcopolitician Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his family during his stint as director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Roque said, citing the complaint.

"Although this is only from a complaint, General Santiago may have benefitted from a house, which may have been given to him by the late Parojinog," Roque said.

Santiago was the director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency from 2006 to 2011. He was appointed by President Duterte to lead the DDB in July.

Mayor Parojinog and 14 others were killed in a shootout during police operations in Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental on July 30.

In the complaint, DDB employees said: "He (Santiago) had unexplained wealth, owned fleet of cars, and expensive properties... Can he be an effective chairman of the DDB as he is being reportedly a protector of a drug syndicate? We doubt it, Mr. President."

CNN Philippines is trying to reach Santiago for comment.

On November 8, Duterte ordered Santiago to resign. Duterte said he was offended by Santiago's remarks when he called the mega rehab project in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija "impractical" and a "mistake."

Asked for the reason behind his resignation, Santiago told CNN Philippines, "The least expected things happen. Good intentions may not be enough. No talk, no mistake."

Duterte has sacked several appointees and top officials such as National Irrigation Administration Chief Peter Laviña and Interior Secretary Mike Sueno over irregularity and corruption allegations.