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Duterte appoints Lapeña to replace embattled Faeldon at Customs

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Isidro Lapeña would be the next commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

Asked if he had already accepted Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon's resignation, he told reporters in Malacañang that it was "automatic" by putting Lapeña in the post.

“If somebody is appointed in the position, meaning to say, automatic na ‘yun, umalis ka. But Faeldon, in fairness to him, tried to resign thrice,” Duterte said.

But Duterte hinted that Faeldon’s stint as Customs commissioner would not be his last under his administration.

“Government would need Faeldon. But where? I really do not know. But sabi ko, “You just stay there. You just coast along because I would need the services of a good, honest officer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that Philippine National Police Region III director Chief. Supt. Aaron Aquino would head the PDEA. Duterte said he was once assigned to Davao City where the President served as mayor for over two decades.

Faeldon has been at the center of controversy at the BOC over the shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu, which has been under probe by both chambers of Congress.

Duterte earlier revealed that Faeldon has offered to resign at least three times. Amid criticism of Faeldon from legislators, Duterte has stood by the ex-soldier, saying he didn't believe allegations of corruptions against the Customs chief. 

Duterte, whose campaign against drugs has been the centerpiece of his administration, expressed surprise that the BOC will be involved in drug shipment.

"I did not expect na itong Bureau of Customs was also importing drugs," he said, adding that he believed that corruption at the agency was an institutional problem. —JST, GMA News