Palace defends posting of ex-colonel linked to drug smuggling
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte “knows what he is doing” when he appointed a retired military colonel to an office in charge of localized talks with communist insurgents despite the official’s alleged involvement in the smuggling of a P6.4-billion “shabu” shipment from China in 2017.
Malacañang issued the statement following the appointment of Allen Capuyan as executive director of the National Secretariat of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict on March 25.
Capuyan resigned as assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the Manila International Airport Authority in March last year after being implicated by Bureau of Customs fixer Mark Taguba in the controversial shabu smuggling case.
A month later, he was appointed presidential adviser for indigenous peoples’ concerns under the Office of the President.
“Since the President has appointed him to that post, the President, I’m sure, knows what he’s doing. Maybe he does not believe in the corruption charges,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
‘Hello, Garci’ scandal
Capuyan’s appointment, despite the alegations against him, is “the call of the President,” Panelo said.
The task force, which is also under the Office of the President, was formed in December last year.
It seeks to end the communist rebellion at the local level by providing social services, employment opportunities and an improved quality of life in affected communities.
Capuyan also figured in the “Hello, Garci” scandal during the Arroyo administration and was believed to be behind the wiretapping operations of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Fores of the Philippines. —Julie M. Aurelio
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