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MANILA, Philippines – Customs Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim confirmed he resigned on Monday, July 22, hours after President Benigno Aquino III slammed the customs bureau for incompetence in his 4th State of the Nation Address.
Lim said the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr received his resignation letter early Tuesday, July 23, in Malacañang.
“If you hear something like that [from the President], what would you do?” Lim told Rappler. He said he has tried to resign 6 times in the 22 months that he’s been in office. Six times Ochoa rejected it, he said.
“The expectation was simply too much,” Lim said. “I told Secretary Ochoa, please just give me another agency.”
Asked why he would attempt to quit 6 times, Lim said the customs bureau is “tough” given the “various external forces beyond your control.” It’s tougher than mounting coups, Lim said in jest.
A West Point graduate, the retired brigadier general led the 1989 coup against then President Corazon Aquino, which came close to toppling her. He was then a Scout Ranger captain. Lim was detained on coup charges but was reinstated years later.
But he was subsequently involved in attempts to bring down the Arroyo government. Lim ran for senator but lost in 2010 under the banner of President Aquino’s Liberal Party.
Would he remain in the bureau if the President asked him to stay? Lim said he doubts it. He said it’s difficult to be effective in an agency such as the Bureau of Customs. Lim is deputy commissioner for intelligence.
On July 22, Lim’s boss, Customs chief Rozzano Rufino Biazon also offered his resignation to the President. But he said the President told him his confidence in him “remains.”
In his SONA, the President accused Bureau of Customs personnel of “trying to outdo each other’s incompetence.” The agency has been graft-prone for decades now.
Below is Lim’s statement issued to the media Tuesday night:
“I congratulate the President on a well received State of the Nation Address. As a member of his official family, I am privy to the truths that ring out in his speech and am profoundly moved. It is in this spirit that I tendered my resignation as Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence of the Bureau of Customs.
“In the 22 months that I served in this administration, I am very proud of my accomplishments, the seizures of smuggled items in record breaking numbers, the institutional changes I had installed, albeit in small steps and the stricter policing of personnel in my division. Though small compared to the Herculean tasks of cleaning these Augean stables, they are no less lasting and significant achievements. Nevertheless, during my tenure, Sec. Pacquito Ochoa will attest that I had asked to be relieved of my duties no less than six times, and in all those times have been told to wait for vacancies and possible transfer to other agencies.
“I agree with the President’s SONA observation that the Bureau has not performed in accordance with the expectations of the people. The apprehension of smugglers as well as the guaranteeing of correct collections are continuing activities that need as much attention as the job of instituting reforms – a virtual guarantee that the latter activity will take time, much more time than the public would be willing to give us.
“In view of this, I see no other recourse but to leave this office.” – Rappler.com