Duterte sacks all top Philippine customs officials over drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made the fight against drugs the centerpiece of his administration since he won a presidential election in 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 25 October 2018
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Duterte sacks all top Philippine customs officials over drugs

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fired the head of the Bureau of Customs on Thursday and ordered all top bureau officials replaced after the agency failed to intercept more than a ton of drugs, the second such case in two years.
Duterte has made a bloody fight against drugs the centerpiece of his administration since he won a presidential election in 2016. Thousands of people have been killed in the crackdown.
Duterte said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena was being removed from his post and all his deputies and top officials would be transferred.
“The commissioners are out, the department heads are out,” Duterte said during a speech at a ceremony commemorating the founding of the coast guard.
He said he was appointing retired army general to take over the bureau and soldiers and members of the coast guard would help him.
Duterte said Lapena would be reassigned to a government training agency.
Lapena, who was at the ceremony, expressed surprise by his transfer and commented briefly to reporters to express his thanks to Duterte for his new posting. He was not available for comment later.
Lapena, a retired police general, has been under pressure since customs authorities failed to detect a shipment estimated at more than a ton of methamphetamines being smuggled into the country in July.
Drug enforcement agents later found traces of the drugs in the containers in which they were smuggled, but the drugs were gone.
Duterte did not refer to that case on Thursday.
The previous head of the customs bureau was removed after a huge amount of drugs were smuggled into the country in May last year.


Polish parliament honors slain Gdansk mayor with prayer

Updated 16 January 2019
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Polish parliament honors slain Gdansk mayor with prayer

  • The attacker stabbed the mayor three times, in the heart and the abdomen
  • The stabbing happened while the mayor was onstage during a fundraising event

WARSAW: Polish lawmakers have paid respects to the popular mayor of Gdansk, who died after being stabbed by an ex-convict with a grudge.
Parliament members stood Wednesday for a minute of silence and prayed for Pawel Adamowicz, who died on Monday after being stabbed while onstage at a fundraising event the evening before.
Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the opposition Civic Platform party, remembered Adamowicz as a courageous man who had devoted his life to his city, and blamed “insane hatred” for his killing.
The assailant stabbed Adamowicz three times in the heart and abdomen and told the crowd it was revenge against Civic Platform, which was in power when he was imprisoned for bank robberies. Adamowicz was a longtime member of the party but left it in 2015.