A post office personnel and a customs employee were caught in the act of opening a parcel and stealing money contained in the package.
Postman 1 Lovilyn de Leon of the PhilPost Central Mail Exchange Center, and examiner representative Omar Said of the Bureau of Customs, were caught by a closed-circuit television camera on September 2, at around 11 a.m., opening a package they were inspecting and taking an envelope from it.
The incident happened at the PhilPost CMEC Philippine Postal Corp. on NAIA Road, Pasay City, the main PhilPost facility where parcels are sorted out.
Packages are inspected and sorted out by a PhilPost representative and a Customs representative, but can only be opened if the recipient or consignee is also present, Postmaster General Josefina M. De la Cruz said in an interview Wednesday morning after a press conference about the exposé at the PhilPost head office in Manila.
De la Cruz, the country’s first postmaster general, admitted that connivances between PhilPost and customs employees may have already been in place years before she took over PhilPost six weeks ago.
It may be a “prototype” of large-scale pilferage and theft at post offices nationwide, she added.
While CCTV cameras abound in post offices, this is the first pilferage incident recorded since the detection device was installed six years ago.
The CCTV camera has never caught anyone in the past, and employees were led to believe that it had broken down.
“According to the recipient, the envelope contained 100 euros,” she said. “But that envelope could have contained anything. This is a just an example of what is happening many times, every day, of conniving between customs and our employees. All I’m driving at is there are many ways to abuse the postal service,” De la Cruz said.
The parcel, from the CCTV footage, contained what looked like medicines and a cell phone. How the suspects were able to take an envelope inside the cell phone casing, was a puzzler for De la Cruz.
Such an operation was obviously “a team effort,” she added.
Charges of qualified theft are being readied against the suspects, after the package recipient issued an affidavit in PhilPost before filing a case in the City Prosecutor’s Office.