Lapeña not exempt from Duterte anticorruption drive – Panelo
The filing of a graft and corruption case against former Customs chief Isidro Lapeña reaffirms the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte to eradicate corruption, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stressed that the case against Lapeña was proof that no one was beyond the scope of the administration’s crackdown on corruption.
“No one, friends or political foes alike, is spared in our fight against corruption,” Panelo said in a statement.
“The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has a mandate to fulfill and its action is proof that the President shall not shield those upon whom a shadow of doubt has been cast,” he added.
Nevertheless, the presidential spokesperson said that Lapeña still “has the constitutional right to be presumed innocent” until proven otherwise.
Lapeña, whom Duterte has appointed as director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, “still enjoys the trust and confidence” of the President, Panelo said.
On Monday, the NBI filed a complaint for graft and corruption against Lapeña for the disappearance of the 105 container vans loaded with ceramic tiles at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) early this year.
Lapeña had issued an alert order against the container vans, which were to be subject to full inspection. However, he said, the container vans were released without his authority.
In its 35-page complaint filed before the Department of Justice, the NBI recommended that Lapeña be prosecuted for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 3019.
The NBI also recommended that Lapeña be administratively charged for gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct.
Lapeña has been under heavy criticism over the alleged smuggling of P11-billion worth of shabu into the country in August. /cbb
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