MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile admitted he has recommended the promotion of Port of Manila district collector Rogel Gatchalian who was tagged as one of the so-called “three kings” at the Bureau of Customs, but denied asking any favors from him.
The “three kings” refer to customs officials occupying sensitive position at the BOC and having powerful political backers.
Enrile, in an interview on Tuesday, said he did not know Gatchalian but somebody had approached him to help the latter to get promoted as Collector VI during the Arroyo administration.
“Somebody approached me if I could help him to get an item, a rank, higher than what he had. I think he was aspiring to be a Collector VI and so I recommended him to be promoted to Collector VI. I did not recommend him for Manila,” he said.
“Then, when his appointment came, it was Malacañang that issued an appointment giving him the rank of Custom’s Collector VI vice Suansing who was retiring from the port of Manila. He did not asked for that eh.”
Suansing is former deputy commissioner Horacio Suansing.
When Gatchalian was finally appointed to the post, Enrile said he had told him not to embarrass him and he must show that he could increase the collection in the port of Manila.
“Yun ang ginawa nya (that’s what he did), he was the number one performer. So, after that they could not take him out of Manila, because… nobody can equal his performance,” said the senator.
“But, I never called him for any favor or anything. I never interceded for him to anyone,” he added.
Gatchalian was one of those who vacated their posts as part of a revamp now being implemented now at the bureau.