Guerrero, Lapeña sworn in as new Customs, Tesda heads
Newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Isidro Lapeña took their separate oaths of office before President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday.
Guerrero took his oath in Davao City while Lapeña was sworn in at the Philippine Air Force Brigadier General Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
The President appointed Guerrero, a former administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and a former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as head of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) after he transferred Lapeña to Tesda. Lapeña was the former BOC head.
Lapeña, the President said will carry the rank of a Cabinet Secretary as Tesda head.
Lapeña came under heavy fire in the wake of the alleged smuggling of P11 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the port of Manila under his watch.
He has been accused of cover-up over the drug smuggling case at BOC but he said these allegations were part of a “well-funded and coordinated attack” against him.
The President however, has defended Lapeña and cleared him from the multibillion-peso drug smuggling in the agency, saying the former Davao City police chief was not corrupt.
In his marching order to Guerrero, the President ordered him to “double the zealousness” in cleaning the BOC of corruption.
“Kung sa Army ka pa, takot talaga sa ‘yo ang mga tao kasi istrikto ka daw. Double the zealousness and maybe you’d have a better chance of retiring unscathed,” the President told Guerrero.
The President hailed Guerrero as a “good” and ” honest” man in leading the Customs.
“Si Jagger (Guerrero’s nickname) naman I have known him for several years and he is good…he is honest. So sabi ko sa kanya, to protect yourself, paalisin mo lahat,” he said.
The President also ordered Guerrero to replace Customs personnel with state forces.
“Maybe you can utilize the Coast Guard sa peripheral…but doon sa loob, alam mo, Jagger, you can draw your ‘yung technical men ng Army, mga technical men ng Air Force, Navy…Hintayin mo, post ka na ng mga Marines ang katabi,” he said. /muf
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