Duterte still trusts ex-Customs chief Lapeña despite drug raps, says Palace
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte continues to trust former Bureau of Customs chief Isidro Lapeña even after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed criminal complaints against him for the supposed smuggling of billions of pesos worth of shabu, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a press briefing, insisted that Lapeña “remains Constitutionally presumed to be innocent”
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said that the President still trusts the former Customs chief “because he knows him personally” and “he has worked with him” before.
Lapeña was charged with two counts each of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft Law, Dereliction of Duty and Grave Misconduct.
“As far as the President is concerned, he trusts him. But if the evidence proved otherwise, it will be a different story,” Panelo said.
The charges against Lapeña stemmed from his alleged failure to lodge complaints against the consignees, importers and brokers of the magnetic lifters stuffed with shabu at the Port of Manila.
At the height of the controversy, Duterte appointed Lapeña as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. /gsg
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