President Ferdinand R. Marcos has appointed retired police general Moro Virgilio Lazo as the new head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Lazo’s appointment was confirmed by Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil on Thursday night.
At the same time, the President has appointed National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba as the new chairman of the Commission on Audit (COA).
Lazo will succeed Wilkins Villanueva as director general of the PDEA, which serves as the government’s lead agency in the anti-narcotics campaign.
Villanueva, in a Facebook post, shared a copy of Lazo’s appointment paper signed by Marcos on Oct. 19.
Lazo is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984.
After graduating from the PMA in 1984, Lazo joined the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) elite Special Action Force (SAF).
He served as SAF director in March 2015.
He was also a member of the Presidential Security Group during the term of the late President Fidel V. Ramos.
Lazo also served as chief of the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office; provincial police director of Benguet and Cagayan; and regional director for Central Luzon.
Marcos vowed to continue the anti-illegal drugs campaign but emphasized the approach will be different, including focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.
In a Facebook post, Villanueva expressed gratitude for serving at PDEA for two decades.
“It is with profound gratitude that I close my two decades of professional service to God and country in the field of drug law enforcement,” he said.
“My profound thanks also to His Excellency President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. for allowing me to continue serving as the seventh Director General until my worthy successor was appointed as of October 19, 2022,” Villanueva added.
The Supreme Court’s Public Information Office director, Brian Keith Hosaka on Friday confirmed that Cordoba took his oath of office earlier before Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo at the Supreme Court.
Cordoba, who is also a lawyer, replaces former solicitor general Jose Calida, who stepped down from the post earlier this month due to health reasons.
Cordoba was appointed by former President Rodrigo Duterte as head of the NTC, the agency tasked to supervise, adjudicate and control all telecommunications services in the Philippines.
Also on Friday, the Army announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Adonis Bajao as its new vice commander, replacing Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo, who was appointed as head of the Eastern Visayas-based 8th Infantry Division.
Before his appointment, Bajao served as the Internal Auditor of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He also held key positions throughout his career such as 9th InfantryDivision assistant division commander; commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade; commander Joint Task Force General Santos of the 10th Infantry Division; and 8th Infantry Division assistant chief-of-staff for civil-military operation.
He also held key posts in the AFP office of the chief-of-staff for operations.