Quantcast
Latest Stories

No sacred cows in Customs reforms—Palace

By

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda: No sacred cows

MANILA, Philippines—There will be no “sacred cows” in the “wide-ranging reform” that President Aquino will be implementing soon at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Without disclosing any details of these planned reforms, Malacañang on Thursday said that the “systemic corruption” at the BOC would be dealt with regardless of the identities of the personalities involved.

“We are implementing a wide-ranging reform in the Customs. All your concerns will be answered once we announce the reforms,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told a press briefing.

“Let’s wait for the reforms to happen, and it’s going to happen soon,” he said.

Lacierda, however, denied that Aquino had accepted the resignation of Danilo Lim, the customs deputy commissioner for the Intelligence Group, and Juan Lorenzo Tañada, the deputy commissioner for the Internal Administration Group.

The two offered their resignations in order to give the President a free hand in revamping the BOC, after the President singled out the incompetence and corrupt activities of customs personnel in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday.

Biazon’s offer

Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon immediately sent a text message to the President after the Sona, offering his resignation, but he said. Aquino had assured him of his continued confidence.

Lim and Tañada followed suit the next day, but Lacierda said that as of Thursday there was no word yet on whether the President had accepted their offers to resign.

The Palace was also silent on whether Deputy Commissioners Horacio Suansing (enforcement) and Prudencio Reyes (assessment and operation), and BOC Director George Aliño (enforcement security service) had resigned.

Lacierda said Lim and Tañada had obviously offered their resignations in response to what the President said in his Sona.

He could not say whether Lim would be placed in another post that would best suit his reformist agenda.

 

Up to the President

“I cannot speculate on any other action because (I don’t know) what their motivation was,” said Lacierda.

He also said he had no knowledge of Lim’s claim that he had offered to resign six times.

“Whatever his (Lim’s) statements, whatever insinuations that came out of his statement, I think all that will be resolved when the reforms are implemented. It’s up to the President. We will let you know. But it was a very emphatic statement in the Sona, so action is being done, as we speak,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tañada, the other deputy commissioner who offered to resign, said he believes that it may take at least 12 years, or the term of office of two administrations, to rid the customs bureau of corruption.

“I can see that the problem really runs deep in the system,” he said.

“This cannot be resolved within three years,” Tañada said in Filipino.

He said it would take two administrations, “two presidents who have the same mindset because right after President Aquino’s term, if his successor has a different mindset, we’ll only get back to square one. I think 12 years is just the minimum.”

Customs syndicates

 

Tañada admitted at a press briefing last Wednesday that the agency’s leadership has had a hard time going after the syndicates operating at the BOC.

He said he himself had received calls from politicians and other politically influential groups asking for various favors.

He declined to name names but he said many of these callers were “Congress people” asking for various favors.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Tañada said those who have been calling him included senators, congressmen and others claiming to be relatives of government officials. He said Cabinet secretaries would call, but only to say hello.

“The ones who usually call are the senators. There are also some congressmen and people posing as relatives of high government officials,” he said.

Powerful forces

With regard to the entry of shipments, it was usually Lim who received calls relating to this, he said.

Lim, the customs intelligence chief, earlier said that “powerful forces” were making it difficult for the agency’s officials to implement much-needed reforms.

Tañada said a major problem is the discretion given to customs employees to evaluate shipments.

He said many customs personnel are tempted to accept bribes due to their meager salaries.

“Once we limit that discretion given to employees assigned at the front lines, corruption will be addressed to a great degree,” he said.

Senators and congressmen from both administration and opposition on Thursday called on Lim and Tañada to identify the powerful individuals that wield influence over the interception of smuggled goods and personnel movement in the bureau.

“I urge Danny Lim to name those powerful … politicians, who are intervening at the [Bureau of Customs],” said minority Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, adding that he would be open to an inquiry into the matter by the Senate.

“They should name names. Otherwise, we will all be subject to suspicion. I, for one, have nothing to do with the BOC,” said Sen. Vicente Sotto III, the deputy minority leader.

Sen. Francis Escudero, the chair of the Senate committee on finance, said those making the allegations shouldn’t “simply mention senators or congressmen in general.”

“Let the axe fall where it may,” he said.—With Norman Bordadora


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bureau of Customs , reforms




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement