Ex-Customs chief reacts on Lapeñas appointment

NEWLY-appointed Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña will need to adapt to the “unique” environment of “the most difficult post in government,” and at a time when the agency is facing a drug-smuggling scandal pegged at P6.4 billion, a lawmaker said.

Former BOC chief and now Muntinlupa Representative Ruffy Biazon reminded Lapeña that he must be able to perform the mandate of the agency “with competence and balance.”

“[The] new Customs commissioner will have to know how to navigate through the multi-facets of customs mandate, dynamics of business, government bureaucracy and politics as well as fight, endure and survive forces and interests that will resist change and reform,” Biazon said in a statement.

Lapeña, the director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea), was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to replace embattled Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon.

The BOC is currently the subject of separate congressional probes after the discovery that P6.4-billion worth of shabu shipment from China was able to enter the country.

Biazon said he wishes Lapeña “the best of luck,” but unsure whether a congratulatory message is “in order.”

"To Commissioner Lapeña, I don't know if congratulations are in order because I know the challenges he will face, but I wish him all the best of luck and my support in his endeavors to achieve reform and change in the Bureau," Biazon said.

Meanwhile, Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano said that Duterte’s decision to appoint a replacement to Faeldon was justified.

“Well, yun naman dapat ang ginagawa ng Pangulo sa isang ahensya na nasasadlak sa kapalpakan…This is the right time [for Faeldon] to expose sino ba yang mga [politicians na nag-iinfluence sa Customs]…I would have wanted Commissioner Faeldon to spill the beans, Ilabas nya lahat,” Alejano said.

Alejano added that the government must now turn its attention into finding the main perpetrator behind the multibillion-peso shabu shipment. (SunStar Philippines)
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