The rumors that had been floating for the past few months that Customs Commissioner Rufino ‘Ruffy’ Biazon was on his way out were finally proven correct Monday night.
Biazon, obviously stung by the scolding that his bureau got from President Benigno Aquino 3rd during his State of the Nation Address, submitted his resignation but the Chief Executive did not immediately accept or reject it.
The President reportedly told Biazon that he was aware of the challenges facing whoever heads the bureau, one of the most corrupt government agencies.
In a radio interview, Biazon said he had a “moral obligation” to resign after failing to hit the Bureau of Customs’ collection target for the year. He said he felt that he had been losing the trust and confidence of the President for the collection shortfall.
President Aquino had criticized the BOC “whose personnel are trying to outdo each other’s incompetence.”
Also, the BOC had been receiving flak from the local business community for the unabated smuggling of petroleum products.
The 44-years-old Biazon is the son of former senator and now Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, who was also a former Armed Forces chief of staff. Both are members of the ruling Liberal Party.
“I have direct access to the President so I offered my resignation just minutes after his SONA,” Biazon said.
During the interview, Biazon said his resignation was the proper thing to do after the President openly criticized the Bureau in his SONA. He also admitted that he felt slighted by the President’s remarks.
“I was hoping that he would tackle the importance of the Customs reform bill which I have been advocating,” he stressed.
Asked if his resignation was “irrevocable,” he replied: “It’s a matter of the President’s trust and confidence.”
Biazon claimed that some people wanted him out of the Bureau because of the reform measures that he has been implementing. He admitted that there is a well-oiled and funded campaign to oust him from the agency.
“These people will not just sit down and watch as I reform the Bureau. They’re there to protect their interests . . . but I will not back down from this fight,” the Customs chief emphasized.
Biazon said the tasks of a Customs chief is daunting.
“Kalakaran at kultura na dito sa [BOC] and pinipilit nating baguhin. Ilang Customs Commissioner na dumaan at sinubukang kalabanin ‘yan,” he explained.
With a report from Joel Sy Egco