Cacdac is new PDEA chiefBy Michael Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Plucked from retirement, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. is the new head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Cacdac took his oath before Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa in Malacañang Tuesday, immediately replacing Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez Jr.
The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson belatedly confirmed this in the evening when radio reports had already announced Cacdac’s appointment.
“We confirm that Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. has resigned as director general of PDEA. We further confirm that the President has appointed Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. to the post and has taken his oath before Executive Secretary Ochoa (Tuesday),” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in a text message.
“We have no further details,” said Valte to queries by reporters about reports that Gutierrez had been asked to resign amid the controversy surrounding the Sept. 6 sacking of his No. 2. Deputy Director General Carlos Gadapan, with whom he had a falling out.
Contacted by phone Tuesday, Cacdac confirmed that he had already taken his oath.
“I was provided a copy of my appointment dated Oct. 11,” he said.
Reading portions of his appointment, he said: “Pursuant to provisions of existing law, you are hereby appointed director general of PDEA vice Jose Gutierrez Jr.”
Asked to describe his new job, he said it was a “great honor to be trusted by the President.”
Concerted campaign vs illegal drugs
To combat the drug menace, Cacdac said it was vital to coordinate with other relevant law-enforcement agencies.
“What I promise to do … to fulfill my duty as director general of PDEA is to first coordinate with agencies to help PDEA—National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs, PNP and even the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Cacdac.
“I will initially ask my staff to assess the current situation of PDEA,” said Cacdac, pointing to the need for concerted effort to dismantle the ever-growing tentacles of the drug cartel despite decades-long antidrug campaign of the government.
“We need to help each other. What I feel is (the need for a holistic) approach to counter the drug problem, so we need more consultations, coordination and cooperation to find solutions to problem related to drugs,” said Cacdac.
Cacdac, the second most senior official of the PNP, bowed out of service on October 11, triggering a top-level revamp in the police force.
Cacdac retired as police deputy director general for administration although he was already on a “non-duty status” on Sept. 5.
He is a member of Philippine Military Class of 1978.
He opted to leave the service before turning 56, the mandatory retirement age.