Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon should go on a leave on absence while the case implicating him in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance. Fund (PDAF) scam is being investigated, an opposition lawmaker said Saturday.
Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano 3rd made the suggestion a day after the Department of Justice charged Biazon and 31 other former lawmakers, government auditors and private citizens with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Resignation is the call of the person involved, but if I were the President, I would ask him [Biazon] to go on leave. This would show good faith on the part of the Aquino administration; that it really demands transparency and accountability,” Albano said in a text message.
House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption agreed that a public official should have the delicadeza to step down.
“The best thing for Commissioner Biazon is to completely submit to the process before the Office of the Ombudsman,” Tugna, an ally of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said.
The graft case is another blow for Biazon, who had been reprimanded by the President for failing to curb smuggling in the Bureau of Customs.
Despite the scolding, the Palace has never asked for Biazon’s resignation or even asked him to go on leave.
“The complaint [against Biazon]has been submitted for review and evaluation by the Ombudsman. While this review and evaluation process is ongoing, there is no legal compulsion where Commissioner Biazon to go on leave,” Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said Saturday.
“What the President said is that he will talk to Commissioner Biazon with regards to the case,” Coloma added.
Biazon, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) which President Aquino heads, was a former Muntinlupa City congressman. He ran for the Senate in 2010 and lost.
The Justice department had earlier filed plunder charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. in connection with the PDAF scam.
LLANESCA T. PANTI