Duterte to fire 64 BOC execs, workers
Christina Mendez, Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To cut corruption by a third or by half, President Duterte is ready to fire a total of 64 top officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) after they were linked to the web of corruption at the agency.

Duterte said he got “dossiers” from various intelligence sources on the corruption in the agency.

“If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees,” he said yesterday during Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation Day where the GOCCs remitted some P40 billion to government coffers.

The President ordered the 64 individuals, who have yet to be named publicly, to report to Malacañang on Monday.

Duterte said the affected executives would be placed on floating status pending results of the investigation. He challenged them to simply file their resignation or face probe.

“In the meantime that their cases are being heard, in obedience of the rule of the right to be heard, I want them to be here (at) Malacañang,” he said.

In jest, the Chief Executive said he wants the allegedly corrupt BOC personnel to provide him a handbook on how to “rob the country properly.”

“My view is that help me craft a new implementing rules of how not to rob a country properly,” he said.

Duterte expressed hope that corruption in the agency would be significantly reduced once the BOC 64 are removed from their posts.

“So, I will be asking them to report here. And from the sources that I have commissioned, akin lang, I would have cut down corruption by a third or one-half,” he said.

The President’s move came amid the persisting serious concerns about an attempt to conceal alleged P1 billion worth of shabu in a shipment of tapioca starch that arrived at the Manila International Container Port in January.

The shipment was eventually auctioned off by the BOC and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), supposedly to lure the drug syndicate behind it to come out in the open.

The PDEA earlier confiscated the illegal shipment from a warehouse in Malabon City, concealed in 114 bags and kept in several aluminum pallets.

“It’s a simple case of – you resign or I file charges. And that goes for all of us. We are workers of government and we serve the people, period,” the President said.

“But most of them, ’yung nandiyan na, we will be filing charges, 64 of them. So this early, they might be also learning… what’s going on here, and they are also hearing us,” he added.

In a chance interview that followed the event, Duterte said he is also giving the Office of the Ombudsman a free hand in going after the corrupt BOC officials.

“Well, that would be up to the ombudsman, that is not my discretion. The ombudsman is the prosecutor (handling) government officials who are facing charges,” he said.

“Let me (be) very clear, let me talk. I will relieve them of their duties. As yet, they are not ousted or dismissed because of their right to be heard, but tinatanggal ko na sila sa trabaho nila ngayon to prevent further damage sa government interests,” he added.

Earlier yesterday, Duterte ordered the “freezing” of several high-ranking officials and employees following a meeting between the President and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero early this week. – With Evelyn Macairan

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS RODRIGO DUTERTE
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