Manila: The head of the Bureau of Customs offered his resignation, but President Benigno Aquino rejected it after the latter chastised in his state of the nation address three government agencies for alleged inefficiency and corrupt practices.
“After I tendered my resignation (in a text message sent to his mobile, the president said. ‘My confidence in you remains the same.’ He also said he understood how hard my job is,” Customs chief Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon said in a radio interview.
“Ruffy you and I know the difficulties of pushing for reforms in your agency,’” Biazon quoted Aquino as saying also in a text message.
Referring to the impact of Aquino’s message when the latter asked about the source of strength of some “brazenly corrupt” government officials who smuggle in goods and illegal drugs, Biazon said, “While listening to the president’s SONA, I felt shame because I’m not thick-skinned,”
The finance department earlier said that the government loses P200 billion (Dh16 billion) in government revenues annually due to smuggling.
At the SONA, Aquino did not mention the names of the immigration and national irrigation officials whom he chastised publicly.
Biazon also revealed that he was not invited to attend the SONA at the House of Representatives in suburban Quezon City. “I did not receive any invitation. When my secretary checked at the House of Representatives, she was told that I was not in the list of invited guests,” Biazon said.
In his Facebook account, Biazon noted, “One thing I can say for sure. I am ready to lose the position without shedding a tear….Although I did not ask for this post in the first place, the opportunity to do reform in one of the most difficult agencies in government was one challenge that I readily took on (in September 2011).”