I would understand if Commissioner Ruffy Biazon hasn’t been able to reform the Bureau of Customs (BoC), although many expected him to succeed as he is a no-nonsense guy like his father, Marine General turned politician, Rodolfo Biazon.
But, the son was never really known for toughness, like being in the field fighting insurgents and protecting the republic.
Thus, when the younger Biazon was chosen to head the bureau, it was like being thrown into the snake pit of intensely chaotic place with entrenched corrupt culture. He neither had the experience nor the toughness to deal with the shady characters inside and their ‘godfathers’ outside, not to mention the fraudulent and unethical system used in running the agency.
It was a big relief, therefore, when retired Gen. Danilo Lim was named BoC deputy commissioner.
The combination of Biazon and Lim at the BoC was heralded by many not only as propitious, but auspicious as well for the country, since ‘cleansing and ‘sanitizing’ of the bureau, which has given this country a bad reputation, shall finally be started.
Besides, who among us don’t know or haven’t heard of Gen. Danny Lim?
As a backgrounder, Lim, while a plebe, took the entrance exam to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and topped it.
After graduation, he returned to the country, took the Scout Ranger Course where he graduated No. 1 and led his team in registering the only encounter of the class during their test mission. He opted to be assigned to Jolo after that. He commanded the forward Recon Unit of the 1st Infantry Division (Philippines) in Sulu where he was wounded twice in combat.
Talking about courage and toughness!
Then Capt. Danny Lim was recruited into the rightist Reform the Armed Forces Movement, (RAM) during the 1980s and was involved in the People Power Revolution.
As he rose in rank, his notoriety rose as well. He was involved in a failed coup d’état against the Cory Aquino government. He was incarcerated for rebellion charges.
He was also in the forefront with then Navy Lieutenant and now Senator Antonio Trillanes and other young military officers in taking over the Oakwood Hotel in Makati City to air their grievances against the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The same group triggered a standoff at the Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati City, where he called for Arroyo’s ouster.
One would think that with his idealism, reform mindedness, and toughness he could tame the wild and graft-ridden bureau.
Alas, the guts that made him famous have now been replaced with timidity and tolerance.
While at the bureau he simply lost his nerve to face head on and fight the outside evils that were the root cause of corruption inside.
Lim, himself, said that he cannot deliver what is expected of him because there are “powerful forces” intervening affecting his mandate to capture smugglers and institute reforms in the BoC.
He, however, refused to name the “powerful forces” that intervene in Customs matter, even as Customs deputy commissioner for Internal Administration Group Juan Lorenzo Tañada identified the powerful forces as some senators and congressmen, but whom he did not also identify.
I thought Lim possessed what it takes to help reform the BoC.
Certainly, without Lim’s fortitude, Biazon’s strictness will flounder.
It seems like Lim’s fame was gained by just playing to the crowd after all.
Now, he wants out with his tail between his legs.
Very disappointing, indeed.