Sotto to take over DDB?

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — HIS name previously tarnished after being linked to a suspected drug lord in the early 90’s, former opposition Senator Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto is reportedly set to take over as new chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board today.

Rivals dragged the name of Sotto into the alleged illegal activities of then suspected drug lord Alfredo Tiongco, but he came out clean of the charges after investigators found no evidence to the accusation against him.

Sotto later became a staunch anti-drug fighter in the Senate.

Sotto was the vice mayor of Quezon City when he allegedly was befriended by Tiongco, owner of a Q.C. restaurant being frequented by top police, military and government officials.

The charges against him, which surfaced when he was already a senator, went unsubstantiated and were seen as a demolition job against the popular comedian-turned politician.

Tiongco was investigated for allegedly owning a ship used to smuggle shabu in Navotas and an alleged drug den in Q.C., which was raided by government agents.

Tiongco was later acquitted by the court.

Highly-reliable sources said Sotto is slated to replace retired police officer Anselmo S. Avenido Jr. at the helm of the DDB today.

Avenido became DDB chairman in July 2002.

Sources also claimed that Arroyo turned down a request to also appoint Sotto as the concurrent Director-General of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency which is now headed by retired Armed Forces chief Dionisio R. Santiago.

DDB is the policy-making and strategy-formulatin g body in the planning and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control.

The body is tasked to develop and adopt a comprehensive, integrated, unified and balanced national drug abuse prevention and control strategy under the Office of the President.

The DDB is composed of 17 members, three of which are permanent members.

The three permanent members must possess at least seven-year training and experience in the field of dangerous drugs and in any of the following fields: in law, medicine, criminology, psychology or social work and shall be appointed by the President.