President Benigno Aquino 3rd has named Finance Undersecretary John “Sunny” Sevilla as officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Customs, a Malacañang official confirmed on Wednesday.
Sevilla will take over from Ruffy Biazon who resigned after the Department of Justice implicated him in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Biazon, a member of the ruling Liberal Party and former Muntinlupa congressman, is accused of pocketing P1.95 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during his 2007-2010 term. Biazon maintains he “did not receive any money from the whistleblowers.”
Sevilla has been Finance Undersecretary for the Corporate Affairs Group and Privatization since 2010. He served as Undersecretary for Privatization from 2006 to 2007.
Before working at Finance, Sevilla was an executive director at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, and had covered the Philippines as an associate director and sovereign rater for the credit rating agency Standard and Poors’.
He was Chief Operating Officer of Synergeia foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in the Philippines.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima vouched for Sevilla as “capable of continuing the President’s reform agenda for Customs,” citing his “financial expertise and track record of public service.”
“While it is a monumental challenge to fill the shoes left behind by Ruffy Biazon at Customs, we are in full support of the President’s decision to tap Undersecretary Sevilla for the job,” Purisima said.
“Leadership of the Bureau of Customs requires someone who is results-oriented and an expert on economics, international relations, and project implementation. These traits describe Sunny Sevilla perfectly,” he said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE