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Biazon resigns as Customs chief

Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2013 - 4:48pm

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED)  Embattled Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Ruffy Biazon is stepping down from his post after being slapped with charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

In a televised speech on Monday afternoon, Biazon announced that he is irrevocably resigning from his position.

"I have to do what is fit to the standard of what a Biazon is... It is therefore my decision to irrevocably tender my resignation as Commissioner of Customs," said Biazon, adding that it is a decision that he is at peace with.

Biazon was among the 34 people charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday for malversation of public funds, graft and corruption and direct bribery for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

But the former Muntinlupa representative said his resignation should not be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Biazon said he is quitting his post after the case filed against him affected the people's trust.

"My resignation has nothing to do with an admission of guilt. I know I can defend myself properly when the time comes," Biazon said.

"I also believe that public officers serve based on the trust of the Filipino people. And for this instance, for this particular sensitive post, I believe that even if the distrust comes from just a segment of the people, honor dictates that I give up that post and make way for new leadership in the bureau," Biazon said.

Biazon said he is also quitting to save his family from the undue stress caused by the pork barrel controversy and to relieve himself of the pressure caused by those affected by the reforms he is undertaking in the BOC.

He said his resignation is also aimed to protect the President Aquino from critics who will continue to attack the administration if he stays in his position.

"I resign in order to prevent the exploitation of the controversy by parties who would like nothing better than to have an issue thrown against the Aquino administration."

Biazon said he will officially leave after a week just to wrap things up in his office.

Denial

On Friday, the NBI filed the second batch of cases in the alleged pork barrel scam against 34 individuals.

Among those charged were seven lawmakers including Biazon, who allegedly got kickbacks from pork barrel funds that were coursed to fake non-government organizations of suspected scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Biazon allegedly pocketed P1.95 million in kickbacks from pork barrel funds diverted to the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc. (PSDFI).

Read: Customs chief Biazon, 33 others charged over 'pork' scam

Biazon denied the allegations but reiterated that he is willing to face these in the proper forum.

"I have never met with any of those whistleblowers who have been conduits of the transfer of money," Biazon said. "I did not receive money from the whistleblowers."

He also confirmed knowing Napoles but denied having any business with her.

"I know about her but I did not deal with her or discuss with her my projects," the official said.

The resigned Customs chief also claimed that he harbors no ill feelings against the Aquino administration.

In a statement, President Aquino thanked Biazon for his service to the public.

"I wish him nothing but the best as he returns to private life," Aquino said.

But Biazon hinted that will return to public service.

"I will not cry over losing this post," Biazon told reporters.

"Rest assured I will be back someday to continue serving the public," he said in his speech.

Last July, Biazon offered to resign after President Aquino blasted the BOC in his State of the Nation Address.

AQUINO BIAZON BUT BIAZON COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER RUFFY BIAZON EMBATTLED BUREAU OF CUSTOMS JANET LIM-NAPOLES LAST JULY NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION PRESIDENT AQUINO
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