Rody: Current LTO, LTFRB chiefs not corrupt

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Despite singling out the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as corruption-plagued agencies, President Duterte believes the people he had appointed as heads of the two offices are not involved in irregularities.

Duterte said some people in public service continue their corrupt practices despite his warnings, but he is convinced that LTO chief Edgar Galvante and LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III have nothing to do with corruption.

“It remains really a problem in the regulatory bodies and agencies. You know, I’ve been trying to warn everybody. And I was hoping that I would not have to name them for the reason that I asked those who are involved in so many wrongs to resign before I take my oath of office,” he told businessmen in Malacañang last Tuesday.

“Apparently, (this is happening in) provinces through no fault of Galvante or attorney (Delgra). They have nothing to do with it. Corruption starts even upon the filing of papers. And it still happens frequently in the province,” he added.

Duterte has declared all government posts vacant to enable him to weed out corruption in the bureaucracy.

He made special mention of the LTO and LTFRB, which he once labeled as among the most corrupt in the public sector.

Officials later clarified that the declaration only covers appointees of previous administrations.

They also clarified that Galvante and Delgra were not being asked to leave their posts.

Early this month, Duterte described Galvante and Delgra as people of “proven competence and integrity.” He said the two could not control some of their people in the regional level.

Other officials who were not asked to quit were newly appointed Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries including presidential advisers or assistants, other officials in the executive department including state universities and colleges and government-owned and controlled corporations appointed by Duterte, career officials, members of the judiciary, officials working for offices created by the Constitution and those whose appointments are being processed.

Duterte said he would conduct a “purging” in the government because he is “pissed off” by corruption.

“If I ask for or demand your resignation, it only means one thing: that the Filipino, through me, the appointing power, has lost confidence in your handling the affairs of government,” Duterte said.

 BOC anomaly

 Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon yesterday relieved Customs police Capt. Arnel Baylosis, who has been accused of receiving P100 million to P220 million monthly as tara or grease money from smugglers.

Faeldon disclosed last Monday that Baylosis, who heads the Operations Intelligence Office (OIO) of the Enforcement Group (EG), had been receiving the monthly tara since 2012.

Baylosis, however, denied the allegations made by Faeldon.

“In all my 37 years at the Bureau of Customs, I have never been involved in something like this. My record is clean. I have many accomplishments and recommendations,” said Baylosis.

He added that he went on leave since Monday after learning about the accusations hurled against him by Faeldon because he was depressed and almost collapsed in his office. Baylosis said he was not aware that he had been relieved from his post.

“The accusations that I received millions of tara are not true. In fact, many people are laughing over the allegations that I received a monthly tara of P100 million to P220 millon. I don’t know where they got that (information),” Baylosis added.

In separate interviews, two Customs officials, who requested anonymity, both claimed that the P100 million monthly tara was too high and could be exaggerated.

“For that amount in a month, it would have meant that more or less 15,000 containers were smuggled. Even if the EG operates nationwide and not just in one port district, smuggling that large number of containers would have been glaring and most likely detected,” the source said.

The source added that it was difficult to conduct large-scale smuggling since 2013 because BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group (IG) Jessie Dellosa already joined the agency and was closely monitoring the movement at the ports.

Baylosis recalled that during the first week of July, a few days after Faeldon assumed the top post in the bureau, former deputy commissioner for EG Ariel Nepomuceno reportedly informed the new BOC chief that the EG has an accomplishment report and the details were with Baylosis. – With Evelyn Macairan

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