President Rodrigo Duterte transferred Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to spare him from intrigue, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the transfer has already been arranged before and was set to be promulgated next week.
But, Duterte made the announcement on Thursday to spare the embattled Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief from further criticisms, Panelo said.
Lapeña has been under fire after a shipment of 11 billion worth of shabu slipped past Customs under his watch.
“With respect to Commissioner Lapeña, alam mo matagal nang naka ano iyon… naka-ready i-transfer sa TESDA. Kaya lang nadali kasi -- alam mo si Presidente, ano siya, he wants to spare him from intrigue dahil sinisiraan nang husto eh. Kaya nabigla iyong ano… nadali iyong announcement,” Panelo said
“Nadali iyong promotion niya, Cabinet member na siya ngayon. Kasi ang BoC is just a bureau under Department of Finance eh. Dapat next week pa ang announcement,” he added.
As Director General of Tesda, Lapeña’s title will be Secretary, which is a Cabinet rank position.
Duterte also announced Thursday the designation of Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero as new head of the BoC.
Further, Duterte fired all BoC commissioners and department heads on Thursday amid the multi-billion-peso drug smuggling scandal.