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Biazon resigns, Aquino accepts

Customs chief Ruffy Biazon

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday accepted the “irrevocable” resignation of Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon so as to shed light in the controversies that surround him after he was included in the second batch of accused in the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Aquino gave Biazon until the end of the week to vacate his post.

“I have given Commissioner Biazon until the end of the week to wind up his affairs in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in order to ensure an orderly transfer,” Aquino said in a statement.

Just last week, Biazon and 33 others were included in the graft and malversation charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation for their alleged involvement in the siphoning of the pork barrel of legislators by funding bogus non-government organizations (NGO) formed by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Biazon said that he filed the resignation to the President to protect his family, spare Aquino of criticisms and give way to new leadership without questioning the agency’s credibility.

“It is a decision that I am at peace with,” Biazon said.

Biazon said that he tendered his resignation because a person “can only take so much.”

“No position is worth sacrificing for the well being and peace of mind of my family,” he said. “A good name is more desirable than great riches.”

“I resign in order to prevent exploitation of the controversy by parties who would like nothing better than to have an issue to throw against the Aquino administration,” Biazon said in a press conference at the BOC.

Biazon filed his second resignation this year—the first came after Aquino blasted the BOC in his 2013 State of the Nation Address. But yesterday was different, having the BOC Commissioner announcing his resignation on national TV.

He also stressed that he was not the administration’s “sacrificial lamb” amid the political persecution in the pork scam.

“If my case would serve to show that the Aquino administration does not consider party affiliation, so be it,” he said.

President Aquino convinced Biazon to think twice before making a decision, but in the 40-minute meeting with the chief executive, he said that he is keen to let go of the position.

“In the way the discussion was moving, I think he gave me space to think about it. But from the moment I sat down, I had already made up my mind,” Biazon said.

Biazon is accused of pocketing P1.95 million in kickbacks during his tenure as a Muntinlupa congressman in 2007. He is one of the seven congressmen included in the latest batch of graft and malversation charges filed by the NBI before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Among the legislators involved in the scam are: Salacnib Baterina of Ilocos Sur (P7.5 million), Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur (P9.3 million), Marc Douglas Cagas IV (P5.54 million), Arrel Olaño of Davao del Norte (P3.175 million), Rodolfo Valencia of Oriental Mindoro (P2.41 million), and Arthur Pingoy of South Cotabato (P7.055 million).

“I resign to protect my family, particularly my young children, from the exposure to the hostile environment from the public controversy involving their father. The intense discussion in media may be too much for them to endure. They are too young to understand, in the face of allegations like this, that anyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty in the court of law,” he said.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, the former boss of Biazon, said that the decision was tough, adding that the administration wishes him well.

“We thank Commissioner Ruffy Biazon for his service to the Bureau of Customs over the past two years. We recognize his contribution and the difficulty he had faced,” Purisima said in a statement.

“We wish him the best,” he said. with Malou Cabral

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