Malacanang on Sunday denied that Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has been asked to resign or take a leave of absence following his inclusion in the second batch of respondents in the pork barrel scam.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there is “no legal compulsion” for Biazon to go on leave while the charges filed are being evaluated by the Office of the Ombudsman.
“There’s no legal compulsion for him to go on leave, based on existing laws. We leave it up to him to decide on that,” Coloma said
He said President Benigno Aquino 3rd will meet with Biazon on the matter, but refused to elaborate.
Coloma downplayed reports that Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is trying to ease out Biazon from the bureau.
Reports earlier revealed that once Biazon is eased out, Purisima can take full control of Customs operations.
Purisima, whose department has jurisdiction over the Customs bureau, has been calling the shots in relations to Customs matters.
Biazon was among 34 individuals charged with malversation, direct bribery, graft and corrupt practices before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly coursing his PDAF when he was a congressman to non-government organizations set up by suspected mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the filing of the malversation case against Biazon is proof that there are no sacred cows in the Aquino administration.
“From the President’s point of view, he has always said that you go where the evidence takes you. We have always said that there is no partiality,” Valte said
“I think that has been repeated, not just by the President, but by the investigators themselves, by the Secretary of Justice. And, you know, people will interpret things according to how they see it but these are the facts,” Valte said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE