Philippine President Benigno Aquino accepted the resignation of Rozzano Rufino Biazon as Customs chief on Monday, and gave him a week “to wind up his affairs” at the bureau.
The resignation came after Biazon, the former representative in the lone district of Muntinlupa, last week was included in the latest list of 34 people charged with malversation, direct bribery and graft for funneling Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork scam mastermind.
In a statement, Aquino said he spoke to Biazon who “explained that it would be best to provide the Secretary of Finance the widest leverage and flexibility to steer the future direction of the Bureau of Customs, in light of the controversy brought about by Commissioner Biazon’s inclusion in the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation before the Ombudsman.
“Commissioner Biazon believes that the proper thing to do is to defend himself without compromising his past record, or the ongoing reforms in the Bureau. He is especially concerned with protecting his family, in particular his children, from the effects of a public controversy.”
The President also thanked Biazon “for his years of service to our administration and the nation. I wish him nothing but the best as he returns to private life.”
In a press briefing, Biazon said he was “at peace” with his decision to irrevocably resign.
“I resign in order to prevent the exploitation of the controversy by parties who would like nothing better than to have an issue to throw against the Aquino administration. Being a presidential appointee to a sensitive post, critics will surely have a field day taking potshots at the President if I stay in the post,” Biazon explained.
“My resignation has nothing to do with admission of guilt. I know I can defend myself properly when the time comes.” He added, “This resignation is all about… protecting the President from issues that will be thrown against him if I stay, protecting my family from undue stress, and preventing those who would want to exploit this issue for whatever gains they want here in the bureau.”
Biazon is alleged to have pocketed, during his 2007-2010 term as Muntinlupa representative, a P1.95-million kickback from a P2.7-million Special Allotment Release Order he issued in favor of the Philippine Social Development Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization linked to Napoles.
“I will be back someday to continue serving the public,” Biazon vowed.
His advice to his yet unnamed successor? “Watch your back.”