BOC official denies asking money to release containers at ports
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Bureau of Customs official yesterday denied claims that BOC Import Assessment Service (IAS) personnel have been demanding “grease money” for the release of shipping containers at the ports.

The authority of IAS is confined to the bureau’s main office, not to the ports of entry nationwide, said IAS director Yasser Ismail Abbas.

He said IAS personnel have no say on which containers are stopped or released at the various ports, adding that “our job is mainly monitoring and clerical.”

Insiders said, nothing moves in the BOC without the knowledge and go-signal of the port’s respective top official.

Ranking officials of the Port of Manila (POM) were cited in an investigation report submitted by an internal investigation team that focused on the disappearance of around 650 containers last year.

Then POM and district collection chief Erastus Sandino Austria and appraiser Mimosa Maghanoy were among those cited for possible complicity in the irregularity.

Lawmakers want BOC chief axed 

Meanwhile, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Parañaque Rep. Joy Tambunting said recently BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero should be included among the 64 employees that President Duterte should fire for alleged corruption.

“The BOC is an agency known for corruption. The government must take decisive action in rooting out corruption in this agency. Command responsibility should be observed,” Tambunting said. 

Brosas underscored the importance of pressing charges and haling to court corrupt BOC personnel.

Duterte has directed the proper agencies to file administrative charges against erring officials and personnel and for government prosecutors to push for their preventive suspension.

Vincent Maronilla, associate BOC commissioner, said the list was trimmed to only 52 because 12 either had already resigned or were retired. Of the 52, only 43 actually showed up at the meeting on Thursday with Duterte at Malacañang. – Delon Porcalla

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