Malacanang on Friday confirmed that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. had recommended Peter Manzano as Customs deputy commissioner but denied that Ochoa was meddling in the bureau’s affairs.
The Times bannered a story on Friday citing sources who named Ochoa and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. as among the “padrinos” or protectors of ranking Customs officials.
But Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Ochoa admitted recommending Manzano as Customs deputy chief “but ES (Executive Secretary) has nothing to do with any transactions in BOC.”
“There are names being floated. We want to hear names, evidence. This has been done before, name drop Cabinet members,” Valte said.
Turning to the resignations turned in by Deputy Commissioners Danilo Lim and Jose Lorenzo Tañada, Valte said “both resignations are still being processed. No word if resignations accepted or rejected.”
Valte also said the reassignments within Customs announced by Commissioner Ruffy Biazon are “within the powers of the [Customs] commissioner.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE