Lapeña has Duterte's trust unless proven guilty - Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2018 03:43 PM

File: Isidro Lapena

MANILA - Former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña will continue to enjoy President Rodrigo Duterte's trust and confidence until he is proven guilty of corruption, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The chief executive will however not meddle in an investigation, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

"No one, friends or political foes alike, is spared in our fight against corruption" and the National Bureau of Investigation filing criminal and administrative complaints against Lapeña proves that "the President shall not shield those upon whom a shadow of doubt has been cast," he added. 

"Good governance is the hallmark of the Duterte administration and this latest development is a reaffirmation of the President's commitment against all forms of corruption and illegality," he said in a statement.

Panelo said Lapeña, who is now Technical and Education Skills Authority (TESDA) director-general, "has the constitutional right to be presumed innocent."

"Until and unless proven otherwise, he still enjoys the trust and confidence of the appointing authority who happens to be the President," he said.

In a complaint filed before the Department of Justice, the NBI accused Lapeña of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits officials from "causing any undue injury to any party...or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference." 

This is in connection with the missing containers that contained ceramic tiles from China and were covered by his manual alert orders. He is also facing administrative complaints of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct over the same incident.

The containers, which had ceramic tiles from China, were covered by manual alert orders from Lapeña. 

The BOC said it should not have been released without the necessary documents. The agency accused Asian Terminal, Inc. (ATI) of releasing the containers without a memorandum from Lapeña.

In April, the BOC filed smuggling charges against ATI and several importers and customs brokers.