Customs chief Guerrero admits 'tara system' still exists
Rosette Adel ( - August 20, 2019 - 5:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after Sen. Panfilo Lacson bared the “tara” or bribery system at Customs, a commissioner at the bureau, Rey Leonardo Guerrero, admitted that the corrupt system is still alive.

“Mayroon pa,” Guerrero said during the presentation of the Customs’ mid-year accomplishments.

Guerrero, however, said the corrupt system has lessened.

He said he no longer sees “Happy Friday” or the day when Customs officials receive bribery.

In August 2017, Lacson said there is a tara system at Customs. He said former Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon is aware of this system.

READ: Lacson bares Customs 'tara' list

Customs officials including former Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, who replaced Faeldon, in September 2017 also admitted that the tara system exists.

Asked how he knows the bribery system still exists, Guerrero said he has been hearing about it and has been receiving complaints.

“May nahuhuli tayo e. For as long as there are complaints, itong listahan namin… hindi ‘yun ang katapusan,” Guerrero said, referring to the list of corrupt officials he submitted for the ombudsman probe.

(We are catching some. For as long as there are complaints, our list is not yet final.)

More than 100 engaged in corruption

Guerrero said the bureau submitted a total of 119 names of Customs officials who are involved in corruption.

According to Guerrero, 52 of which were already named by President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: 100 more Customs men being probed — official

The Customs chief said they are continuing a review on the performances of investigators, examiners, enforcers and other officials of Customs to curb corruption.

“Whether they like it or not kung hindi nagperform, pasensya na (if you don’t perform, sorry),” Guerrero said.

He also appealed to the stakeholders to stop bribery, citing that they are the root of corruption.

Guerrero said importers or traders shipping goods to the country want to widen their profit and seek discounts from Customs officials. He added that they do “under the table” arrangements to let these shipments in.

“This is a two-way process... Kahit maayos ang ahensya… Kailangan magsimula rin tayo sa sarili. Hindi namin magagawa kung mismo ‘yung nasa labas [hindi sumusunod],” he said, urging stake holders to avoid engaging in illicit deals.

(This is a two-way process... Even if the agency functions well… We need to start with ourselves. We cannot do it if those outside our agency are not following.)

Last July, Lacson said corrupt Customs officials and employees seemed to have “lain low” following his expose about the alleged smuggling of P1 billion worth of shabu in May.

The senator said he has not received any reports of corruption or bribery in the bureau since then.

However, he said the system might resume due to the lack of an anti-corruption system in the bureau.

READ: ‘Tara system in BOC continues’

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