Biazon: I’m ready to face allegations

'I had always exercised prudence and fidelity in the performance of my duty as Representative of the Muntinlupa'

PRUDENCE? Customs chief Ruffy Biazon in a file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Hours after the justice department filed a complaint of malversation, bribery, and graft and corrupt practices against him, Customs chief Rosanno Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon said he is “willing and ready to face the allegations” accusing him of misusing his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during his term as Muntinlupa representative.

Biazon is the first party mate of the President to be included in PDAF cases lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman, although a number of administration allies have been implicated in the special state audit of the fund. The Ombudsman will determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring him to court.

In a statement released Friday, November 29, Biazon said “accounting for public funds comes with the territory of serving in government.”

“I had always exercised prudence and fidelity in the performance of my duty as Representative of the Muntinlupa as well as in other responsibilities to the public, and pursued projects and programs that benefitted my constituents,” he said. “But as we have seen in some instances, the processes involved have been vulnerable to abuse by certain parties.”

Biazon said he has not yet seen the documents submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman by the Department of Justice (DOJ) — which filed the case — but said he “welcome(s) the opportunity to clarify and answer the accusations whether before the National Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Ombudsman or the courts.”

The controversial commissioner is accused of receiving P1.95 million in kickbacks between 2007-2009. He is one of 7 former lawmakers charged earlier today, for their alleged participation in the scam that involves lawmakers endorsing their PDAF to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for hefty kickbacks.

Biazon’s statement did not mention any plans to resign.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima told reporters earlier that decision would be Biazon’s alone.

“[The complaint] has no effect yet on his incumbency because just like the first batch of PDAF complaints it will first pass the Office of the Ombudsman and will be assessed by a team there before it will go to preliminary investigation,” she said.

Biazon already offered to quit in July after President Benigno Aquino III lambasted his agency for incompetence and failure to meet revenue targets during his State of the Nation Address. The President refused to accept his resignation.

Aside from Biazon, 33 others were charged in the second batch of cases related to the scam. In August, the DOJ submitted its first batch of cases which also involved incumbent senators of the opposition. – Rappler.com

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