MANILA - Former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña insisted that he did the "right thing" when he issued alert orders that covered more than a hundred containers of ceramic tiles from China that went missing last March.
Lapeña is facing criminal and administrative complaints for issuing manual alert orders even though the electronic to mobile (E2M) system was fully operational at that time.
In a statement Tuesday, Lapeña said it was the alert orders he issued that uncovered the illegal release of containers from the Port of Manila.
"It was under my watch that we discovered 105 containers illegally released from the terminal through the use of fake documents," he said.
All 105 containers were recovered in warehouses in Bulacan. The Bureau of Customs accused port operator Asian Terminal, Inc. of releasing the containers without a memorandum from Lapeña.
But the National Bureau of Investigation, in the charges it filed against Lapeña, said the former Customs chief should have issued a "special stop" order to validly hold the release of the shipments.
"I leave the development of this case to the Department Of Justice. I maintain that I did the right thing that was supposed to be done at that time," the former police officer said.
Duterte promoted Lapeña to Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general after P11-billion worth of shabu slipped through the bureau under his watch.