Why Malacanang is standing by Biazon

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2013 05:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2013 01:44 AM

MANILA - Malacañang said measures will be implemented to address the "entrenched" and "endemic" corruption in the Bureau of Customs.

This, as President Benigno Aquino III reiterated his trust and confidence in Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon despite the public dressing down that his agency received in the state of the nation address.

"The confidence in the commissioner remains," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. "Certainly, there are measures going to be undertaken," she added but declined to specify details so as not to preempt the measures.

Valte said the President is aware of Biazon's "challenges and limitations" in assuming the leadership at the Customs.

Unlike National Irrigation Administration chief Antonio Nangel and Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David, Biazon is being given another chance to clean up the agency.

Aquino rejected Biazon's offer to resign after the SONA.

The Palace said Biazon has implemented some reforms including ridding the agency of "hao siao" reporters.

Valte said "more needs to be done" given "the breadth of the problems."

"Naiintindihan po ng Pangulo 'yung mga hinaharap doon, 'yung mga repormang kailangan gawin. Given his mandate, nag-iisang tao lang din po siya. Given that the problem in Customs is not simple. The corruption is entrenched. Nagiging endemic, nagiging systemic na po doon. Ito po 'yung mga pagkakataong kailangang ibigay para naman ho magawa ng tao ang kanyang mandato," Valte said.

The Palace again issued a warning to corrupt and erring employees of the BOC.

"This is the shot across the bow already. Ito na ho 'yung warning. Hindi na nga lang ho siya warning. The President was very explicit na ubos na po ang pasensya niya doon sa mga miyembro ng ahensya na iniisip siguro na 'Sandali lang 'yan, matatapos din 'yan, we can sit this out.' They are mistaken and obviously matagal na pong nakatitig ang Pangulo sa kanila," Valte said.