One of the collectors who will be affected by the impending reshuffle at the Bureau of Customs has a P300-million mansion that sits on one block of pricey real estate at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
He has a fleet of luxury cars, which he flaunts going to the office.
The Office of the Ombudsman seems to be looking the other way when it comes to this customs collector.
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A customs police officer is trying to recoup his losses from extortion activities while he was out of the bureau for many months after his dismissal for unexplained wealth.
This customs police officer coughed up a big amount of money to an Ombudsman official who was on the way out.
That’s what he tells his fellow officials, who are themselves corrupt, who ask how he was able to get himself reinstated.
Now, this customs police officer is involved in shaking down big-time importers (read: smugglers) and their brokers.
He drops the names of his superiors when he extorts money from importers and customs brokers.
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The original mandate of the customs police is to guard government facilities and private property within the customs zone.
In other words, they are glamorized security guards.
The secondary role of the customs police is to help out personnel who inspect or seize cargo suspected to contain contraband on orders from the port collector.
Customs policemen, according to their original mandate, cannot inspect or seize cargo on their own.
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Legitimate importers and brokers dealing with the customs bureau complain that there are just too many crooks in the bureau whose palms should be greased.
These include employees at the Office of the Customs Commissioner, employees at the various offices of deputy commissioners, the staff of the port collector, customs intelligence agents, customs policemen, people manning the X-ray machines, janitors and messengers.
Yes sir, even some janitors and messengers should be bribed so they can keep their mouths and eyes shut.
Importers with legal cargo still have to bribe customs people so their papers will move. If they don’t do so, their goods can languish in the warehouses, which may prove costlier in the long run.
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Fouzi Ali Hussein Bondagji, a Saudi Arabian national who was deported several years ago for his alleged links to terrorists, is back in the country.
He was allowed by the Commission on Immigration to re-enter the country upon the recommendation of the Board of Investments (BOI).
Bondagji is now a holder of a special investor’s resident visa.
The immigration commission, then under Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, cancelled Bondagji’s resident visa upon the recommendation of the National Security Agency (NSA).
The NSA found Bondagji had links to the dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden, a fellow Saudi, who was killed by American elite troops in Pakistan.