Monday, December 2, 2013

Ruffy Biazon resigns as Customs chief

Personally, I hate to see Ruffy Biazon go. For one, he is dead serious in reforming the Bureau of Customs. Two, he is the kind of man that will do whatever is necessary to realize a vision, a dream and that is, institute changes in our system.

And you know, when you fight the forces of evil, these demons in barong would do everything necessary to see you to your grave. And sometimes, they succeed.

In this case, however, Ruffy has to choose between what is good and what is necessary. It is to the best interest of the Bureau of Customs that he stays on as its chief. It is not good if one sees the person fighting the forces of evil now in the midst of a controversy.

However, it is necessary for him to resign because this issue might be used by forces against him. Imagine, how can he lead an agency against corruption when he himself is being accused of "profiting from it" when he was still a Congressman?

Admit it--Biazon just lost the moral ascendancy or shall we say, the moral initiative of leading this fight against corruption bedevilling the Customs agency.

Someone "clean" or "new" should head the agency, someone whom the public does not know.

One thing that kept reforms from being implemented in the Bureau of Customs is the fact that a known politician was appointed to the post. Everyone knows how a politician behaves. To be a successful politician in these parts, one needs to be "very accommodating".

Biazon served in Congress for two (?) terms, and I'm sure he was knowledgeable about the "wheeling and dealing" that happened there, which is part of the dynamics of politics.

Now, how can a politician lead a serious dig at reforms, when everyone knows that he is part of the system which most people describe as "corrupt and decrepit"?

How then can you reform or discipline an erring Customs man when he knows that you were once a part of this corruption?

Look at the history of the Bureau of Customs. The most successful reformers of the bureau came either from the ranks or from the military establishment.

Mention the likes of Factoran and Mison and you get some shivers down your spine. These reformers came from the military ranks and they were able to institute reforms within the very system because they gained the respect of those inside the bureau and fear from those who want to squeeze every juice out of it.

The President must appoint someone in the likes of say, Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Ariel Nepomuceno who came from the private ranks and knows the system very well, without being a major part of it.

Nepomuceno is an idealist yet knows how to balance between reality and his visions for change. If the President appoints a military man at the helm of this agency, then, nothing will change because people will perceive the bureau as somewhat a "garrison state", an "extension" of the military establishment.

I am not sowing intrigues but, it is time that a civilian who came from the business and the military industrial complex to lead the reforms within the bureau of customs.

It would be a very nice legacy of President Aquino if he successfully reforms the customs or at least, establish a strong perception that the bureau has been "reformed". You cannot do that with a controversial appointment of say, General Dellosa, who is now being intrigued as a person too close for comfort to Mar Roxas. The "win-win" here is appoint someone very determined to see a highly perceived corrupt agency cleansed of its perceived filth immediately.