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Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Rewarding failures at BOC

President Rodrigo Duterte's order to sack Customs chief Isidro Lapena and other commissioners of the Bureau of Customs in relation to the smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of shabu to their office that made its way to the country's streets is a belated move that did nothing to deodorize his administration.

This controversy—some say the multi-billion peso shabu shipment was overlooked, deliberate or otherwise–also didn't excuse the President and his underlings from being accountable for their debacle.

The administration's latest disaster in its much hyped, yet bloody war on drugs had been highlighted this time by former Bureau of Customs X-ray chief Lourdes Mangaoang, who coincidentally was assigned Customs regional director in both the Cagayan de Oro and Cebu ports.

To be clear Mangaoang had reiterated that she's not laying the blame on the President but on Lapena, who had the good fortune of being rewarded by President Duterte with an appointment as secretary general of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) despite his glaring role in the debacle on the P6.8 billion shabu smuggling that slipped past his BOC watch.

As had been pointed out by many commentators and analysts of the professional and armchair variety, Lapena's appointment is a repeat of another promotion involving Nicanor Faeldon who was transferred from the BOC to the Office of Civil Defense and then to the Bureau of Customs after his failure to prevent a previous P6 billion smuggling of shabu in the BOC ports.

Clearly the President values military men within his inner circle more than his civilian appointees as evidenced when he let go without even the slightest hesitation former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, though he did take his own sweet time in letting go former assistant communications secretary Mocha Uson. 

The President's sacking of Customs officials may impress his fanatical followers but not the general public who are seeing more flaws and failures in his war on drugs as it continues to drag on and claim more lives in its wake.

The explosive devices that were sent to the headquarters of Cable News Network (CNN), former president Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should be looked into by US law enforcement agencies and roundly condemned by peace-loving Americans regardless of their political beliefs.

Speculations are rife that these explosive devices were sent by radical right wing elements notably the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) whose disturbing rise to prominence and disruption of rallies by anti-Trump protestors had been a constant source of criticism by President Trump's most vocal detractors.

President Trump for his part had scaled down on his incendiary rhetoric but whether or not this incident will impact heavily on next month's midterm elections remains unclear.

My husband Ronnie and I already sent our votes by mail, a credit to the stable US election system whose problems arise more from a lack of voter participation than actual cheating in very sharp contrast to the Philippine election experience.

At any rate, I hope whoever was responsible for these threats should be dealt with accordingly to warn those who may even consider doing something violent in the November elections not to proceed with their dastardly plans.

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