Duterte says he won't abandon Lapena
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed he would not abandon embattled former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena, whom he transferred to another government post.
In a speech in Davao City on Sunday night, Duterte said Lapena is a friend.
"I know him and I will not abandon a friend," he said.
Duterte decided to move Lapena as head of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority ( Tesda) following the alleged multi-billion illegal drug shipment that slipped past the BOC last August under Lapena's leadership.
Initially, Lapena denied that four empty magnetic lifters recovered in Cavite contained shabu, contrary to the statement of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency ( PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino.
But recently, Lapena agreed with the possible findings of PDEA following a presentation by the Department of Public Works and Highways during a House inquiry last week the lifters were designed to conceal cargoes inside.
Duterte said he was not covering for Lapena.
"His failure is my failure. I am not covering anything," he said, stressing his order to arrest some Customs officials who were allegedly involved in the drug syndicate.
Lapena served as the police chief in Davao City when Duterte was its mayor. Celerina Monte/DMS