Smuggling case leads to Customs execs’ sacking


DAVAO CITY—The questionable release of cargo that had been misdeclared played a major role in the dismissal of two Customs officials here and the suspension of two others.

In a decision dated Nov. 29 and approved on Dec. 14, the Ombudsman Mindanao dismissed from service Anju Nereo Castigador, former Davao Customs collector who was transferred to Cagayan de Oro, and Alicodsaman Dimasicil, assistant port collector.

Among the bases for the dismissal is the release by the officials of cargo that had not been thoroughly examined.

The cargo release was questioned by businessman Rodolfo Reta, who operated a Customs examination area here, which the Customs officials refused to use.

Reta had sued the Customs officials for terminating a 25-year contract that allowed him to operate an examination area for cargo here.

Reta, in his complaint, said Castigador and the other Customs officials had been harassing him after his employees uncovered several attempts to smuggle in cargo using his Aquarius Container Yard (ACY), the examination area that the Customs had refused to use.

One of the alleged smuggling attempts took place in February 2010, when 40 container vans entered the ACY facility for inspection.

The contents of the container vans were declared as construction materials from Thailand but the vans yielded rice instead.

Employees of ACY prevented the containers from being moved out but Dimasicil, the assistant port collector, issued a clearance that allowed the release of the questionable cargo.

Reta said he brought the matter to Castigador, then Customs chief here, but Castigador simply ordered the transfer of the cargo from the ACY facility to one operated by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

It was at that point when Castigador, through a lawyer, wrote to Reta informing him that the Customs office here was terminating the services of ACY.

In its 24-page decision approved by Deputy Ombudsman Humphrey Monteroso on Dec. 14, the Ombudsman said it found enough evidence to dismiss Castigador and Dimasicil from service.

Marilou Unabia, graft investigation and prosecution officer, also recommended the suspension for six months of Customs examiners Lerrie Natividad and Moctar Amir.

The Customs officials had argued that terminating the services of Reta’s company was in the best interest of the government.

The Ombudsman, however, took note of the February 2010 case. It said the Customs office failed to follow due process in the transfer of the questionable cargo from ACY to the PPA.

It said the release of the cargo and the failure of Customs officials to charge the consignee, Rapzel, were enough basis to determine the guilt of the Customs officials.

The Ombudsman also noted that the order to release the shipment was signed by assistant collector Dimasicil on Feb. 24, 2010, although the shipment arrived two days later.—Ayan C. Mellejor

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  • tata_boy

    dapat may kulong ang mga ito para di pamarisan……

    • Cola

       The Ombudsman should recommend also the filing of criminal charges.  It is clear that there was a criminal offense committed violating RA 3019, particularly Section 3.

  • Your_King

    More smuggling problems? That seems about right. Smuggling, which involves some form of corruption, has been its worst in the Philippines during the Aquino Administration. That a fact that no one is disputing.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Typical of the corrupt government officials. There are more if somebody has the guts to go against them.

  • Fred

    May you acquire an unknown disease that has no cure so that you will become miserable in your lifetime. This wish is dedicated to all corrupt government employees.

  • basilionisisa

    Well done, Ombudsman and Customs! May you be safe and protected in doing your job well.

  • Yxon

    congratulations to you Mr. Reta, for your bold expose of these cretins in the Davao customs.

  • MG

    Approved. Pero yung lang ba. Kakasuhin ba ang mga iyan sa korte. Mayayaman na ang mga iyan kung dismissal lang.

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