The President's partymates vow no sacred cows in Customs
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Ruffy Biazon and Danny Lim were partymates of President Benigno Aquino III during the 2010 elections, but both of them lost in their bid for the Senate.
Biazon was a 3-term congressman while Lim was a former general in command of the Scout Ranger regiment.
Both of them are new to the Customs bureau but they do not see this as a disadvantage.
Rather, they believe being new is actually a plus factor when joining an agency that has a reputation of being one of the most corrupt in government.
“Walang makakalapit sa akin at magsasabing, ‘Dati nagtransaksyon tayo e.’ Wala akong ganoong bagahe,” said Biazon.
Biazon was surprised by President Aquino's offer to head the Bureau of Customs, made a day after Tourism Secretary Bertie Lim resigned.
He was handpicked by the President without the knowledge of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
Biazon said he is ready for the challenge in leading the bureau.
He believes his performance will either make or break him.
Meanwhile, Lim was involved in a lot of controversies during his military career.
Lim was a captain and a member of the Reformed Armed Forces Movement (RAM) when he joined the 1989 coup d'état against the mother of Noynoy, former President Cory Aquino.
Lim also went against the regime of former President Gloria Arroyo and was thrown in jail.
Now, Lim faces a different kind of war.
“Tayo ay nanindigan para sa katotohanan laban sa korapsyon, laban sa katiwalian. Papasok tayo sa giyera, dapat mayroon tayong isang coherent at cohesive strategy,” said Lim.
This is the order of President Aquino to the new customs heads.
The government loses an estimated P127 billion a year due to smuggling.
The Federation of Philippine Industries said the President also ordered the 2 officials to raise customs collections, which are now below the target of P320 billion for 2011.
The 2 also face the problem about the recent disappearance of over 2,000 container vans from the custody of Customs.
“Sa investigation na ito, dapat magkaroon tayo ng sapat na ebidensiya kung sino talaga ang may pakana nito. We will not hesitate to file the necessary charges,” said Biazon.
Both Biazon and Lim promise that there will be no sacred cows as they enter this new chapter in their public service careers.