Duterte leads destruction of P296-M smuggled luxury vehicles
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday spearheaded another destruction of contraband luxury vehicles and motorbikes to show his administration’s resolve to fight smuggling and corruption.
Duterte, accompanied by Cagayan Economic Zone (CEZA) Administrator Raul Lambino, witnessed the condemnation of 68 contraband luxury vehicles worth PHP277 million and eight luxury motorbikes worth PHP19 million at Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
In his speech, the President called on the Filipino people to trust his government in addressing corruption.
“That is why we are here, I ordered the destruction. Whatever they said that there still corruption, there is still corruption. I cannot get rid of it in just one day,” he said.
Duterte also took the opportunity to defend Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapena and former BOC chief Nicanor Faeldon from criticisms.
“And do not believe that General Lapeña here, the Customs commissioner, is corrupt. He is not. He was for the longest time my chief of police in Davao City,” Duterte said.
“And even Faeldon. You know why I trust him? They got so much money when we raided Mighty cigarettes. Did you — how much we earned from there? PHP40 billion. He was the one who gave me information,” Duterte said.
“He was the sole singular guy in government who told me that there is smuggling, so much smuggling that if we can destroy it we will have the money,” he added.
Duterte also said he does not believe that Faeldon and his son Paolo Duterte accepted a PHP6-million bribe to allow smuggling of PHP6.4 billion worth of “shabu” in May last year.
“I would not believe that he would exchange that for a few mil — 6 million, and it included my son. Susmaryosep,” the President said.
He reiterated his commitment to fight corruption even if it would mean firing more of his appointees in the government.
“I’m done. I’m beyond politics. I cannot seek reelection. I hit the wall there someday. So I will not waste my time just talking, coming here, and allowing corruption. I will not really. I don’t want it,” Duterte said.
“Do not enter into it. They said, ‘Ay, Duterte may corruption’. Really. But today, I have fired – and what is really very.. What is pitiful is that most of them were with me since 1988 when I became mayor,” he added.
The President maintained that transactions in his government “begin and end” with the Cabinet members.
“Everything, even marginal notes. What I have is the appointments and the policy, foreign affairs,” Duterte said. (With report from Bill Visaya/PNA)