Latest Stories

Davao group asks Aquino to run Customs himself

DAVAO CITY—An anticorruption group based in this city, which has been helping a local businessman pursue charges against a former port collector here, urged President Aquino to take the helm of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to combat rampant corruption at the agency.

It was Aquino himself, during his State of the Nation Address on July 22, who brought up the charges against many customs officials and blamed them as part of the reasons for the country’s fiscal problems.

“Our call is that for the President to take over the Bureau of Customs for at least six months. He should be the one facilitating the transformation of the agency,” Jesuit priest Fr. Alberto Alejo said on behalf of Ehem!, an anticorruption group here.

While the President lambasted corruption at the customs bureau, he, however, refused to accept the resignation of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, drawing criticisms from several groups.

Biazon has been blamed for continued corruption at the customs bureau.

Alejo formed Ehem! during pardoned plunder convict Joseph Estrada’s short-lived tenure as President. The group has been very active against corruption here and is also one of the forces behind the legal battle put up by businessman Rodolfo Reta against former Davao port collector Nerio Castigador.

In November 2012, the Ombudsman ordered Castigador’s dismissal from service for preventing Reta from operating a BOC-accredited X-ray facility.

Ehem! said Reta  was harassed by customs officials for not allowing container vans from being brought out of  Sasa Wharf without going through an X-ray procedure even if these have been cleared by customs people.

Reta’s persistence paid off when 40 container vans shipped in from Thailand— each loaded with 320 bags of smuggled rice—were intercepted.

The cargoes were misdeclared as construction materials.

Such cases, Aquino said in his Sona, brought at least P200 billion in losses to the government.

Alejo lauded Aquino’s stance against corruption but added that the President should listen to what Ehem! and other civil society groups have been saying from the start—a total revamp of the BOC and other revenue-generating agencies is the only solution to corruption in these offices.

“We were right [all along] and it is about time that he must become creative on what can be done,” he said.

Alejo said that years after the Castigador issue, corruption is still rampant at the customs district office here.

One indication, he said, is that the three X-ray machines put up here are hardly being used. Dennis Jay Santos, Inquirer Mindanao

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: Customs , News , Regions , Smuggling

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
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  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. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • PH, HK end bitter row; sanctions lifted
  • Marketplace