MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said he has ordered Bureau of Customs Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero to “shoot” smugglers.
During an event in Iloilo City on Saturday, the President again said he placed Guerrero, a former military chief, in charge of the BOC to cleanse it of corruption.
"Order ko, ‘pag may nagnakaw diyan civilian, Customs o Coast Guard, barilin mo, patayin mo. Sige, sige, mag-smuggling kayo diyan. ‘Yan ang order ko. Nilagay ko Army,” Duterte said.
(My order, if someone steals there, Customs or Coast Guard, shoot them, kill them. Go ahead, go ahead and commit smuggling there. That's my order. I placed there [someone from the] Army.)
“Si Jagger (Guerrero's nickname) naging Chief of Staff man ‘yan, kilala ko man ‘yan. ‘Di magsabi siya, 'Sir, binaril namin. Utos mo kasi, nagnakaw.' Eh tama ‘yan. Para sabihin niya sinong nag-iyak, biyuda? O sige, mag-demanda kayo. Yeah, you can go to court tapos ako ‘yung accused,” he added.
(Jagger was a former Chief of Staff. I know him. If he says "Sir, we shot someone. It was your order. Caught stealing." That's correct. If someone cries, widowed? Then go ahead, file a case. Yeah, you can go to court and I will stand accused.)
The President also maintained former Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña had no hand in the drug haul worth billions of pesos that allegedly slipped past port inspections.
Duterte appointed Lapeña to head the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority after Lapeña was tagged in the shabu shipment.
“Si Sid Lapeña, nalusutan lang ‘yan siya doon sa --- kasi hindi taga-roon eh. Eh kaya, probinsyano rin ‘yung tao. Hindi naman sanay dito sa Maynila, nalusutan siya,” Duterte said.
(It [shabu shipment] slipped past Sid Lapeña. He wasn't familiar there. He was from the province, not used to Manila. It slipped past him.)
At the time the magnetic lifters were found in Cavite, the PDEA and the BOC had just intercepted 500 kilograms of shabu concealed in 2 other magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), raising suspicion that those found empty in Cavite had also contained shabu.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine has filed charges against Lapeña and several others over the shabu shipment.
Malacañang has said that Duterte continues to trust Lapeña despite these charges.