MANILA (3rd UPDATE) – Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon tendered his irrevocable resignation on Monday after he was implicated in the pork barrel scam.
Biazon maintained his innocence, but said stepping down from his post is the honorable thing to do amid the controversy.
“I resign in order to prevent exploitation of the controversy by parties who would like nothing better but to have an issue to throw against the Aquino administration,” he said in a press conference.
“Being a presidential appointee to a sensitive post, critics will surely have a field day taking potshots at the president if I stay in the post. I would rather see the reforms of his administration succeed than retain my opportunity to serve,” he added.
He said his resignation is not an admission of guilt but rather seeks to protect his family from exposure to a “hostile environment” of a public controversy.
"I resign to protect my family, particularly my young children, from the exposure to the hostile environment of a public controversy involving their father. The intense discussion in media may be too much for them to endure. They are too young to understand that in the face of allegations like these, anyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," he said.
He also thanked the President for allowing him to serve as Customs chief, a task he said he took on because he “believed that it was a cause worth fighting for---to break the generations-long kalakaran, to reverse the bad image of Customs and to propel it forward to a reformed and modernized customs service.”
"On this instance, for this particular sensitive post, I believe that even if the distrust comes from just a segment of the people, honor dictates that I give up the post and make way for a new leadership in the Bureau," he said.
He added that he is open to helping out government in the future to share his knowledge and experience as the Customs chief for two years.
Biazon is among the 34 individuals charged last Friday over the pork barrel scam.
Biazon, a former congressman of Muntinlupa, allegedly received a kickback of P1.95 million.
He said he prepared his resignation letter as early as Friday night. He earlier offered to resign last June after the President criticized the BOC in his 2013 State of the Nation Address, but the President did not accept his resignation.
He noted that he is at peace with his decision and he is not holding a grudge against the President.
In a statement issued right after Biazon announced his resignation, President Aquino said Biazon "believes that the proper thing to do is to defend himself without compromising his past record, or the ongoing reforms in the Bureau."
He said Biazon is "especially concerned with protecting his family, in particular his children, from the effects of a public controversy."
Aquino said Biazon submitted his resignation on Monday afternoon.
He said Biazon feels "it would be best to provide the Secretary of Finance the widest leverage and flexibility to steer the future direction of the Bureau of Customs, in light of the controversy brought about by Commissioner Biazon's inclusion in the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation before the Ombudsman."