Corruption in BOC tantamount to ‘state of lawlessness’ — Panelo
Malacañang on Tuesday claimed that the rampant corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) can be considered a “state of lawlessness” that must be addressed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement as he defends the constitutionality of Duterte’s directive to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to takeover the operations of the BOC amid allegations of widespread corruption.
Panelo said that when there is “lawless violence,” the President, according to the Constitution, can call out for the military’s intervention.
“The state of lawless violence would refer to what is happening in BOC. Now the lawless violence would certain refer to what is happening in BOC. There is a state of lawlessness there.,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“If you can bring in hundreds of kilos of drugs, there must be some grave wrong in that area and there is a state of lawlessness there,” he added.
Panelo went on to say that “violence” does not only mean “physical” violence.
“It’s not just physical violence. You do violence to the Constitution, you do violence to the law. That’s a state of lawlessness,” he said.
He also explained that the soldiers who will be tapped to man the controversial bureau will still have to follow AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr., and not incoming BOC chief Rey Guerrero.
Duterte earlier authorized the military to take over the operations of the BOC in a bid to stop corruption and smuggling activities.
Some lawmakers have questioned the constitutionality of Duterte’s order to place Customs under military control.
Malacañang is yet to issue an official order on the military takeover. /kga
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