Guerrero warns BOC personnel: Don’t tarnish my name
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on Monday said he would not allow erring personnel to tarnish the “good name and reputation” he had cultivated in the past three decades.
Vowing to use the “full extent” of his powers and authority, Guerrero said his “top priority” was to cleanse the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of corrupt officials and employees.
The third customs chief in less than three years under the Duterte administration admitted that the bureau was still reeling from the latest smuggling of P11 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) that slipped past the Manila International Container Terminal hidden in magnetic lifters.
“It may be hard to accept, but our agency is again in the middle of a huge controversy. When will we really start to cleanse our agency?” he said at the bureau’s flag-raising ceremony on Monday.
“There have been so many commissioners who have come by, but until now we have yet to really fix the system,” he added.
Fed up with the corruption within the bureau, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the entire BOC would be placed under military control.
Officials still ‘in control’
Guerrero assumed his post on Wednesday last week but did not shake up the BOC as expected. He said customs officials would still be in “control” of the bureau’s operations while he looked into the situation and prepared “appropriate actions” against erring personnel.
Still, Guerrero vowed that, like his predecessor, Isidro Lapeña, he would work to put an end to the “tara” (grease money) system that had long plagued the BOC.
The President moved Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as its director general.
Guerrero warned that he would not hesitate to go after people who would use his name to commit illegal transactions at the bureau.
“In the past 30 years, I took care of my name and reputation because I believe that this is the most important thing that I can leave [to] my children,” he said.
“Let us serve with honesty and integrity. Let us keep the dignity and nobility of public service. I will use the full extent of the powers and authority given to me as your commissioner to make sure that I will accomplish my mission,” he added.
In the coming days, Guerrero said, BOC personnel as well as the public can expect that he will “lead by example” and ensure that every transaction in the bureau is “documented, reported and transparent.”
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