MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has the prerogative to appoint former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino as head of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte did not need to give any explanation as to why he decided to give a new job to the former chief of the administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.
“The issue of appointment is a Presidential prerogative. The President does not have to explain why,” Roque said in a virtual presser.
He said Duterte decided that Aquino suited another post.
“Aaron Aquino was simply given a new and more challenging position,” Roque said.
On Wednesday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed in a statement that the President has approved Aquino’s nomination as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the CIAC.
Roque also confirmed the news, clarifying that Aquino was not sacked but was merely transferred to another government office.
“I can assure you this is not a case of loss of trust and confidence or anything. He (Aquino) will just be given a new assignment,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Roque, meanwhile, welcomed newly appointed PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva, whom he described as having “impeccable credentials.”
He expressed confidence that Villanueva, being a former PDEA 10 (Northern Mindanao) director, would lead the agency and the fight against illegal drugs to “greater heights”.
In a radio interview, Villanueva said he plans to implement a new protocol on the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
He said before conducting an operation, the agency would check first if the areas with drug personalities have Covid-19 cases.
To assure the safety of those conducting investigations, a team would first make an assessment by identifying the targets.
Villanueva said he already spoke with his predecessor to discuss agency operations. (PNA)