Customs chief Biazon slams groups working for ouster

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Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon warned on Monday  “personalities and vested interest groups”  behind a demolition job against him that “I’m watching you. You won’t get away with it.”

But the customs chief, who just returned from an official trip to Panama City, did not identify his detractors.

He told a news conference at the Bureau of Customs headquarters in Manila that “there really are attempts to destabilize the bureau from various directions.”

“Clearly, may gumagalaw (there are those making a move)… I’ve been hearing the loudest whispers about the people involved (in a smear campaign). Some of them apparently stand to lose due to the ongoing reforms at the bureau. Some want me out. Others want to replace me,” Biazon said.

He said he would deal with these people. “If interested, let’s sit down and talk with the President. If you succeed in convincing him to replace me, I’m willing to quit my post.”

Customs insiders identified one of the alleged operators behind the demolition job against Biazon but asked the Philippine Daily Inquirer not to print his full name.

“It’s Mr. G… he belongs to a political clan in San Carlos City, Pangasinan,” said the source.

On Sunday, Biazon told Inquirer there was a concerted effort to discredit him.

“I’ve been in politics long enough to know when a demolition job is being done… I know I have ruffled the feathers of enough people with interests to give them a motive to do these attacks,” he said.

But Biazon said he was not quitting.

“When I accepted this job, one of the realities that I accepted was that I would be the target of vicious attacks precisely because this job entails going against people who will try to bring the commissioner down because they want the position for themselves,” he said.

Some BOC old-timers, however, opined that Biazon’s hands were tied, saying “he can’t push for all the reforms he believes would convert the bureau into a modern customs administration, as well as fight corruption.”

The customs chief, they said, “has to deal with, among others, several factions in the bureau,” including those allegedly identified with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

“These groups have the power to hire and fire people at customs. That’s common knowledge here at the bureau,” said a source.

Sought for comment, Biazon said the BOC “should be insulated from political patronage and influence with the passage of a law banning the endorsement or recommendation by persons of influence in the hiring or promotion of customs personnel.”

He disclosed that a number of customs officials were endorsed by some politicians.

Last week, Malacañang said it was standing by Biazon despite the alleged massive smuggling of petroleum products.

Asked if Biazon continued to enjoy the trust of President Aquino, Lacierda said: “For now, of course, yes. Yes.”

A top Palace official said the President would deal with Biazon after the May elections.

But Liberal Party (LP) allies of Biazon said improvements in the bureau’s services, not his resignation, should be done to address smuggling.

LP chair Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the prosecution and punishment of smugglers “is what will help solve the Philippines’ multi-billion peso smuggling problem.  Unless the smugglers are punished, any revamp will fall short of truly solving the problem.”

Biazon said the bureau needed a complete overhaul.

He pointed out that the mere replacement of people involved in the BOC’s Run After the Smugglers campaign, while necessary and significant, would not be the ultimate solution.

“A change in the system and the environment needs to happen, including a paradigm shift in how we view the role of the Bureau of Customs, not just in revenue collection and border security, but in trade facilitation,” he said.

He pointed out that the problem of oil smuggling did not just crop up during his tenure as customs commissioner the past 18 months or in the Aquino administration from mid-2010 to the present.

“It is a problem that hounds every customs administration, not just in the Philippines but around the world. Even the most technologically advanced customs unit faces the same problem. The only difference is the magnitude of the problem and the dynamics of the system prevailing in each country. But sometimes, it is also a matter of perception by the sectors concerned,” Biazon added.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya brushed off as “part of public service” the heat the agency has been getting from recent allegations that several of Department of Transportation and Communications key officials were involved in oil smuggling.

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo Oban Jr., who was recently appointed an undersecretary at the DOTC, had reportedly helped local oil firms smuggle billions of pesos worth of fuel into the country.

Oban is on leave from the DOTC starting  April 1 to last six months. He did not specify his reason for going on leave.

“There was no talk of smuggling when he went on leave. There is nothing to investigate at DOTC,” Abaya said in a text message.

Abaya said Oban had called asking where the allegations linking him to smuggling had come from. Abaya said his reply was “I said I guess it is all part of public service.”

Ramon S. Ang, head of the country’s biggest oil refiner and retailer Petron Corp., earlier disclosed that the government was losing as much as P40 billion a year in foregone revenues due to the rampant smuggling of petroleum products. With reports from Cathy Yamsuan and Paolo G. Montecillo

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  • calixto909

    KAPAL MUKS KA BIAZON. MAGRESIGN KA NA PARA DI LALONG MASIRA SI PNOY. YOU LOST YOUR CREDIBILITY TO WORK WITH PNOY DUE TO YOUR INCOMPETENCE TO SHAVE OF SMUGGLING IN YOUR OFFICE. ANO PANG INAANTAY MO NA SENYALES YAUNG MAIHABLA SI PNOY DAHIL SA KAWALANGHIYAAN NIYO NA ALIPORES NIYA O KULANG PANG NAKULIMBAT MO?

    • Cano Manuel

      Ganyan ba talaga kayong magmura ng tao? All you need to do is comment, hindi yung magmura. Para kang nasa bangketa lang eh.

      • sanjuan683

        hehehehe Kasi baka naman talagang nagnanakaw na sila, kaya galit na sila at nagmumura na. Tatlong taon pala sila nakaupo pero mas malaki pa ang nai-smuggle nila kung ikukumpara sa 10yrs na pagkakaupo ni GMA. Idilat mo nga mata mo para makita mo ang limpak-limpak na dollares na nanakaw nila. hahahahahaha huag ka bulag sa sariling bayan mo.

      • Cano Manuel

        Hindi naman kailangang magpakababa. Paano pa sila mahihiya kung ganoon na kababa ang mga taong nagmamasid sa kanila?

      • B3ntong

        What reason to resign? Manigas kayuuuu. Kapit TUKOOOOOOO

      • frudo

        gma na nman tapos na yun, move on ka na! kung magnanakaw man yun mga naka pwesto now, may election naman at kaya sila palitan,

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    * * * * *
    “I’m watching you. You won’t get away with it.”

    I do not relish saying this, but such language is not characteristic of one who fully understands what it means to be a “public servant” and thus subject to criticism. Worse, it is the language of one who does not really possess moral courage and equanimity. One may even suspect that it is the language of one who thinks that power comes from the barrel of a gun—–the language of cowardice.

    • HarryK

      Soldiers talk only in one language.

  • Betz Chui

    If Biazon is removed, panalo ang operators who are about to lose in the on going reforms sa BOC (also probably the people behind the demolition job) . There clique will be more powerful as they can remove/replace commissioners! Biazon should start the cleansing of the BOC NOW! Pnoy should provide Biazon with more teeth and power to run after smugglers! To stop Oil smuggling, it should be a collaborative efforts of coastguard, navy and BOC personnel as smuggling occurs in the high seas! – not in Aduana! Madali lang ang pag monitor sa oil smuggling…

    • Betz Chui

      All oil tankers and its capacity that enters Philippine waters should be monitored by Marina, Coastguard or Navy…BOC should have prior information before its arrival and taxes even before its departure from its port of origin should have been sorted out! To audit this thing – check the sales of the oil companies and its imports using oil tankers capacity and the frequency of arrival! Dyan makikita ang corruption! EVAT of oil should be imposed even before that oil is pumped out of the tankers…as many oil retailers delays issues of receipts at umaalis na lang ang sasakyan na walang resibo – at cguro nakakalusot sa pagbayad ng evat!

      • Betz Chui

        Also, sinusunod ba ang regulations ng IMO…dapat ang tankers na pumapasok sa Pilipinas ay double hulls na (precaution sa oil spills) at dapat regulated and ballasting ng ships inside Philippine waters to protect the Philippines marine resources from invasive species.

      • Betz Chui

        Kong meron lang FOI…and if we can get ships (oil tankers) data from MARINA including arrival and departure, capacity, port of origin, company of origin etc., importers, versus data from BIR/BOC of taxes collected from oil companies we can easily show what company/who is doing “magic” – all we got to do is put in the data in a new software called “data visualization” – presto – it will be the burden of the oil company to prove that they are not smuggling oil. This simple task can be done in a day or two!

      • HarryK

        Oil tankers retailing their cargoes to smuggler ships in the middle of the ocean. The smugglers ships, without docking, unload their oil to barges so what data are we talking about? Nil.

      • Betz Chui

        Then monitor all barges docking in oil depots…that is why we need the coastguard and navy to help in the anti smuggling campaign in the high seas…guilty parties should be punished with very high penalties …para hindi na umulit.

      • Maldi2

        Ikaw ang tunay na pakyaw, hindi si Manny! Pinakyaw mo na lahat, LOL!

    • superpilipinas

      what reform?

      there is no reform. panalo na ang operators mo ng 40 billion annualy….

      he-he-he…what reform? baka deform and ibig mong sabihin.
      Biazon has not done anything…and will not be able to do anything. As I’ve predicted when he was appointed, he will not be good for the job…appointment was pure politics and not for effective governance…and the 40 Billion pesos lost annually is the unmistakable evidence. Under him, the government has already lost 120 Billion Pesos…more than enough to provide scarce basic services to poor people.

      • sanjuan683

        Wala talagang kakayahan iyan Ruffy Biazon, dinaan lang sa lakas ng tatay niya kay Abnoy. Biazon hindi mo linya ang BOC lumayas ka na diyan puede ba? Magtanim ka na ng kamote at ibenta mo sa palengke nakatulong ka pa sa mga tao naiinis kay Abnoy. hahahahahaha

    • sanjuan683

      hehehehehe Walang kasi karanasan pareho yan mag-amo, sina Abnoy at Biazon kaya hayan puro smuggle ang nangyayari. Subukan mo parehong mo alisin ang mag-amo mababago ang situasyon.

  • Pedro_Gil

    huwag kalimutan na ang taong bayan ang naglukluk sa amo mong Pnoy. wala nang tiwala ang bayan sa iyo kailangan namang magkaroon ka ng dangal at magbitiw ka na. wag kalimutan na kami ang boss, ok. escapu ka na at humingi ng tawad hindi ka qualifikado sa trabaho. no managerial exp at med tech ka. mag masters ka muna. kapog!!!

  • Roy Rosales

    kudos to custom comm.biazon for his result oriented performance in battling smugglers,which his predecessors never delivers.im one of your fans,comm.you belong to an educated,upright,cultured family,like your father gen.biazon./.there is an old saying/pag ang puno ng mangga ay hitik sa bunga,ay binabato,pag walang bunga,walang bato.

  • UrHONOR

    >>>I know I have RUFFLED the feathers of enough people with interests to give them a motive to do these attacks,” he said.<<<

    HE was named RUFFY for nothing! :)

  • UrHONOR

    MAY KATWIRAN din naman si Biazon……ang alam ng mamamayan ay yong nababasa lamang nilang linalathala ng mga pahayagan. Wala silang malay kung ano ang nangyayari sa loob. Tulad din yan ng tao na kung titingnan mo sa labas ay naghihingalo na, pero sa loob ay matatag-ba-matatag pa. Ang nakikita’t napapansin ay yong panglabas lamang….yong nangyayari sa loob ay lingid sa kaalaman. Gaya na ng sinabi ng pinuno ng bayan, sa ngayon, wala pang sibakan. Titingnan kung hanggang saan pa makaka-arangkada itong si Ruffy. Kung mapatunayang hanggang doon na lamang siya, e, di nga kasi, nararapat lamang na siya ay i-substitute na sa second quarter ng magaling-galing na point-guard! kUNG ako naman si Ruffy, papasahan-ko-ng-papasahan ng bola si Danny Lim at baka naman maka-shoot yong tao ng kahit na isang 3-pointer!

    • sanjuan683

      Naku!!!! tingin ko pareho lang ang mga yan walang kakayahan sa BOC. Umalis na sila at huag na kapalan ang mga mukha nila.

  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    Tama yung sabi ng mga intsik. The biggest smugglers in this country are the intsiks. To make their lives easier, they pay their bribes, payola, kickbacks or what have you through the Binondo central bank (Dasmarinas, Rosario & Juan Luna). An organized system of paperless (untraceable) money remittance service is set up for this specific purpose. The money goes into offshore bank accounts of PNoy and others in Singapore. Walang kahirap-hirap.

    Prior to the heated territorial dispute in West Philippine Sea, PNoy still maintained his offshore accounts in Hong Kong. But when things got too hot this time last year, PNoy had to send Trillanes as envoy to China because Beijing threatened to spill the beans on PNoy’s HK accounts. This explains why the Scarborough issue suddenly became silent. This is also why Enrile tried to dig deeper into what Trillanes did in Beijing April and May of 2012.

    Ruffy Biazon is just a pawn in this whole smuggling issue. He’s dispensable and could be easily replaced by another similarly obedient Customs Chief. Follow the money and it leads all the way up to PNoy. This is why we need the FOI bill badly.

    • muddygoose

      Oooh conspiracy

  • superpilipinas

    Please resign. You lost 120 Billion Pesos already.

  • Ramil Abalon

    ha ha ha….mr biazon sa mga peza zones lang daming mga buaaya dyan na customs….ha ha ha dahil matatanda na sa pwesto ayaw tumanggap ng pagbabago…isa rin sila na gusto kang mapatalsiks..ha ha ha sa mga ports marami dyan conived sa brokers at consignee..di nag dedeclare ng tamang items…ha ha ha lalo na ang mga mayayaman dyan sila din ang number 1 na smuggler… kasi kuhng mawala ka dyan lalo na silang mabuhayan..si ang at iba pa dyan…kasama rin sila sa mga smuggler…hindi pa nga kamo yan nagbabayad ng tamang buwis sa gobyerno…oh gusto ba mpaatunayan????? ilabas nila ang audited report versus doon sa sales ng company nila…..suriin maigi ang mga resibo nyan….ha ha ha..cge biazon just stay hanggang makita natin ang liwanag sa dulo…

  • tagaDumantay

    Is Danny Lim still alive? After his appointment nothing heard from him. It seems idealism is only present when you don’t have money. But once oppurtunity to amash wealth comes in it corrupts the mind. General show us what have done so far.

    • superpilipinas

      Well…as you call him General….he can not disobey directives of his chief.

    • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

      Sorry to burst your bubble pare. Danilo Lim is not the man that you think he is. He’s definitely not the Mr. Clean that you might have in mind. Danny used to work “unofficially” for big chinoy businessmen who have problems retrieving their cargo from customs. That’s where Danny comes in with his connections. Ask Mr. Sytangco, who owns a huge chemical company. These days, Danny can work “officially” for his former patrons. Tao din lang naman si Danny. He’s got a family, too.

  • josh_alexei

    Just do your Job mr. Biazon and stop this nonsense of threatening the “enemies” which is expected when you took the the Job. The Idea here is to Defeat them at their games and if you can not do it, let others do it…remember, fighting smuggling in Custom just do not Revolve around You…others can do the job better…or worse…

    • superpilipinas

      You still don’t get. He hasn’t done the job and will never be able to do the job. If he knew how to do as you are suggesting, don’t you think he would have done it already???

  • juanibarra

    10 letters… D-E-L-I-C-A-D-E-Z-A.

    • superpilipinas

      Not something people of Team PNoy, UNA, NP, and the rest of those trapos, political dynasties, and incompetents, can ever spell. These people are so entrenched and hard to remove from office and they don’t care about DELICADEZA.

      Vote for new people and new parties. They will perform much better since they know they are new and can be easily removed if they are not good enough.

  • tekken

    Just have the decency to resign please!
    Anong demolition job ang sinasabi ni Rufy? Huwag na magmalinis at alam naman natin ang laki ng deficit sa customs target collection last year over 60 BILLION.

    Mga tycoon na nga nag file ng complaint like Ramon Ang of Petron, Edgard Chua of Shell and Rosendo So of Agricultural group, what is he saying that it’s a demolition job. Taong bayan na ang niloloko mo. Di na tanga ang mga Pinoy!

    Masyado na ang GREED alam naman natin na malaki ang lagay sa kanya kaya naman ayaw na umalis ng BOC.

    Kung ano ano pa palusot na sinasabi.

    President Noy, ikaw na dapat ang mag-isip at humusga. Hindi nagsisinungaling ang mga tycoons na yan. Nandyan na ang mga facts sa harap mo. Wag na ipagtanggol ang barkada, pag di marunong dapat sibakin na!

  • Hey_Dudes

    Unless we Filipinos are prepared to unify against this scourge of stealing, looting, plundering and get rich scheme without sweating and denounce it throughout the world, even if we assign the task of overseeing our bureau of customs to JESUS CHRIST aided by his original 12 APOSTLES, nothing will change all because our culture is such that if someone has it – he or she must have it too. She or he will go to greater length to make sure what she or he has is a better brand, style, price tags etc. etc. If they cannot buy it through sweat and tears, they will steal. We were not like these during decade 50’s something must have gone bad thereafter to result in many of our fellow Filipinos prone to stealing and killing.

    • superpilipinas

      Hey dude…it’s actually simple.

      Aquino did not put the right man for the job, He appointed out of political debt.

      Now we have the wrong man for the job as strongly evidenced by 120 Billion Pesos of loses which could have been used for pro-poor programs.

      Then Aquino would not hold his appointee accountable which means Aquino does not think he is accountable to Filipinos.

      The only answer is to teach them a lesson….Don;t vote for Team PNoy. They are just as bad as UNA and the others.

  • B3ntong

    Bakit ang daming smuggled goods na nakakalusot. Ang lider ay LAMPA kung mas maraming excuses kesa solusyion, Kesyo kahit sa custom ng ibang bansa ay ganito at ganuon…so ganoon na lang. Pakapalan na lang ng mukha at huwag magbitiw, bulagbulagan at bingi bingihan na lang! Bweseeeeet.

  • superpilipinas

    BoC is a milking cow.

    There is no FOI. So how can we know that Aquino and his administration which does not want FOI prioritized are not milking the cow?

    120 Billion Pesos Milk!!! No wonder they don’t want FOI prioritized.

    • frudo

      dapat ng ngang ipasa ang FOI tapos isunog na rina ng ID system para wala ng lusot mga magnanakaw ok ba sa inyo yun FOI and ID system?

  • sanjuan683

    Hindi mo linya ang BOC, mag-ahente ka nalang ng gamot tutal medical tech ang natapos mo. May katangahan din ang amo mo hindi mo naman linya sukat na nilagay ka diyan sa BOC.

  • regie

    ruffy kung talagang gusto mo ng reform eh di gawin mo at wag kang matakot dun sa mga me lakas na maghire at magtanggal ng mga empleyado dyan. ang problema sa yo eh wla kang political will . kasi kung meron ka nun ke sino pa tamaan ay gagawin mo ang trabaho mo. di ka katulad ni bayani fernando kahit sino tamaan ay wala siyang pakialam. kaya ako sa yo kungdi rin masusunod ang usto mo ay resign ka nalang at di pa masisira ang pangalan mo….

  • tagasugod

    If ever Biazon resigns, I nominate Mareng Winnie Monsod for the position. She has the guts. These smugglers wont stop @ nothing to get what they wanted. Bakit kakaunti ang tumitira sa mga negosyante. Pare pareho silang mga korap.

  • Rizal Bayani

    Prove your worth Ruffy Biazon. Send these smugglers to jail. And what about Danny Lim? The people are expecting much from him owing to his background as a former General. He was full of passion then against crookedness. What happened now? Were there significant arrests made against big time smugglers ever since the two of you worked together? You don’t have eternity to make an impact in the BOC. Act now! The people’s patience is running low. We want to see more confiscations of smuggled goods and the arrest of big time smugglers including their cohorts in the BOC.

  • Joseph St John

    Mr. President, please do not listen to those people who whisper to you about replacing Mr. Raffy Biazon as Customs head because those people are corrupt. I believe in the honesty and integrity of Mr. Biazon. in running the BOC. Some dirty politicians want him replaced because these people want to be in BOC to enrich themselves once they are appointed. What Mr. Biazon needs is your full support and confidence and the tools,like modern equipments to do away with too much paper work.

  • disqusted0fu

    This is the same exact technique that Pnoy used with the Sabah crisis. I guess this is SOP for the Aquino administration. When under intense scrutiny and criticism, make up something… either a conspiracy theory or a demolition job. Pathetic! if Biazon has indeed been doing a good job, this issue probably wouldn’t even arise.

  • disqusted0fu

    Biazon has confidence that Pnoy would never tell him to resign because he knows that that’s just how Pnoy is with his close allies. The Aquino administration is built not based on how well you perform your duties, but it’s on how well your relationship is with Pnoy. As an underachiever himself, Pnoy could care less on his friends’ performances.

  • $14334231

    oy, nanakot pa!!!….may pa watching-watching pa….hoy, bilasa, we are watching you too!!…

  • Maldi2

    Nahawa na din kay Panot itong si Biazon. Immediately after the Sabah issue, Simeon said on major TV stations – thinking that there was conspiracy, “to my detractors, I’m watching you – you wont’ succeed”! LOL!

    Same old music! Tila mabili pa din huh? Simply lang naman tanong namin mga boss nyo, may smuggling ba? Kung meron, aba eh bumaba na kayo dyan at mga inutil kayo! May mga RATS RATS pa kayong alam!

  • frudo

    mag resign ka na kung may hiya ka pa wag kapit tuko sa pwesto!

  • $26606290

    You cannot be a politician and run the BOC at the same time. You’ve been there too long and you still don’t get it, accomplishing too little.

    Why does the president have to appoint Lacson to do a part of your job. He is simply saying that you are inept, ineffective, overwhelmed. He probably owes you big time, to say to your face, to pack up your stuff and go.

    And if you have enemies within or obstacles being faced….lay them out in the open for all to see. Stop talking about yourself….focus on your job, if you still recall what it is.

  • kilabot

    non-performing asset.
    collection target not met since appointment;
    is that not good enough, ruffy?
    but then again,
    you can always hide behind the general’s pants;
    that would be enough for noykapon to go noynoying on you.

  • JasonBieber

    Expect PNoy KKK to receive the support of PNoy even when they are doing a terrible job. Unless of course a massive petroleum problem is considered doing a good job.

    We’ve seen many times that PNoy KKK get special treatment in the Philippines thanks to PNoy…they get appointed to government positions and even receive bail money directly from PNoy himself if they have a corruption case against them.

  • ConcernedCitizenPh

    BoC must have a pro-active approach to this smuggling problem. A reactive approach that will rely on filing of cases will not be effective based on our history of making public officials and politicians accountable for graft and corruption. Full computerization also cannot be solely relied upon to account for those importations that BoC personnel won’t process through the system. Although BoC now directly charge the importers’ bank account for the payment of customs duties and taxes for cashless transactions, BoC personnel were able to adjust to this system making it ineffective.

    Internal controls that will prevent the connivance in the processing of importation documents and the inspection of goods to be released must be established. Use of CCTVs to document all phases in the processing and release of importations especially the inspection & physical counts will be necessaryl. The assignment of an independent checker that will ensure that only those goods that have been paid customs duties and taxes are released and that will secure all importation documents to establish accountability must be assigned. The latter is to put a stop to BoC’s practice of destroying the paper trail of importations that were not paid the proper duties and taxes to make the presentation of documentary evidences in court cases impossible. This independent checker which may be a private firm or a special government agency that is headed by officials who can stand the pressure like Fr Panlilio, former governor of Pampanga, or Sen Lacson will have a good chance of solving the extreme corruption that is happening at BoC.

    • ConcernedCitizenPh

      The difference between other countries’ records of their exports to the Philippines and the importations declared in the Philippines based on the collection of duties and taxes says that this is not a matter of perception. This is a very huge problem that resulted to a huge underground economy due to massive tax evasion of businesses involved in the sale of these smuggled goods from the importer to the distributor/wholesalers to retailers up to the end-users. The huge losses in government revenues at customs and the subsequent sale of smuggled goods have made the country weak in its capability to protect its people and its territories and explains why the Philippines seems not to progress in spite of the economic growth it experienced over the last 20 years.

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