April 8, 2013
The prosecution and punishment of smugglers—not the resignation of Customs chief Ruffy Biazon—is what will help solve the Philippines’ multi-billion peso smuggling problem.
This is the reaction of Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, to a call by Abono partylist for Biazon to resign, in light of the former’s revelation that the total volume of smuggled agricultural products amounted to P32 billion on 2012 alone.
“The resignation of Ruffy Biazon will not solve the problem,” Pangilinan said. “Unless the smugglers are punished, any revamp will fall short of truly solving the problem.”
“What will end smuggling is throwing smugglers behind bars by ensuring that speedy trials of those accused end in conviction and jail sentences,” the lawmaker added.
Pangilinan recently presided over a series of Senate investigations into alleged smuggling of rice from India and Vietnam. Several key officials of the National Food Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and Bureau of Customs were tagged to be investigated further for graft.
Biazon was not among those implicated in the smuggling activities.