Duterte wants to spare Lapeña from intrigue: Palace

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MANILA — Malacañang said Friday President Rodrigo Duterte has announced one week ahead the transfer of former Bureau of Customs chief Isidro Lapeña to spare the latter from intrigue amid the probe on the multi-billion-peso “shabu” (crystal meth) shipment into the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this clarification a day after Duterte promoted Lapeña by giving him a Cabinet position as head of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“With respect to Commissioner Lapeña, alam mo matagal nang naka-ready i-transfer sa TESDA. Kaya lang, nadali kasi — alam mo si Presidente, he wants to spare him from intrigue dahil sinisiraan nang husto, eh. (He had long been readied to be transferred to TESDA. But announcement was rushed because you know the President, he wants to spare him from intrigue because he was alreadybeing criticized ),” Panelo said in a radio interview.

“Nadali iyong promotion niya. Cabinet member na siya ngayon. Kasi ang BOC is just a bureau under (the) Department of Finance. Dapat next week pa ang announcement (His promotion was rushed. He is now a Cabinet member because BOC is just a bureau under the Department of Finance. The announcement was supposed to be made next week),” he added.

Duterte designated former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff and Maritime Industry Authority chief Rey Leonardo “Jagger” Guerrero to replace Lapeña as BOC head.

Panelo said the President gave Guerrero a marching order to get rid of corruption in the BOC.

At the 117th Anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday, Duterte also fired the Customs deputy commissioners and placed the department heads on a floating status.

He instructed Guerrero to train the PCG and military personnel to operate X-ray machines being used to inspect shipments in the BOC.=PNA

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