PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte yesterday announced that Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña would be transferred to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) amid the legislative inquiry into the alleged smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of shabu into the country.
The President also placed on floating status all department and section heads of the customs bureau.
“Si General Lapeña will move to TESDA. I will promote you to a Cabinet member position,” Duterte said in a speech during the anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Duterte named Maritime Industry Authority administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero as Lapeña’s replacement.
The President said he is still looking for Guerrero’s successor.
Lapeña earlier in the day shrugged off resignation talk following criticism over the shabu mess.
“The President placed me there to accomplish a job, and that is to stop corruption and increase revenue collection. I have been delivering and I still have to do a lot para ma-accomplish ang mission na ‘yan,” Lapeña said at a news conference in Malacañang.
He said he could not he held liable over the shabu smuggling issue on the ground of command responsibility, adding it was the BoC which looked into the drug shipment and subsequently filed charges against the suspects.
The Customs chief also denied protecting Bureau of Customs men who may have been involved in the shabu shipment.
Earlier, the President said that Lapeña and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino were engaging in a blame game instead of killing “idiot drug lords.”