Duterte tags 64 Customs workers in crackdown
President Duterte said on Thursday he has identified 64 supposedly corrupt employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and he would order them to report to Malacañang in a bid to cut down corruption in the agency by at least a third.
In a speech in Malacañang, the President said he commissioned an intelligence estimate of corruption in the BOC and that resulted in dossiers on 64 employees.
“I was reading the dossier from all intelligence sources … If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees,” Duterte said.
He hinted that corruption cases would be forthcoming and, while their cases are pending, he would order them to report to Malacañang and consequently cut corruption in the agency.
“I want them to be here in Malacañang … I will be asking them to report here. And from the sources that I have commissioned, I would cut down corruption by a third or one-half,” the President said.
“My view is that they [can] help me craft new implementing rules on how not to rob a country properly,” he jested.
The President made the remarks hours after presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President will be firing at least 50 BOC personnel due to corruption allegations.
Earlier this week, the President said he will be sacking four BOC employees due to corruption, but this was apparently a very conservative estimate.
In his speech during the GOCC (government-owned and-controlled corporations) Day on Thursday, Duterte said charges will be filed against the 64 errant employees.
“It’s a simple case of, you resign or I file charges. And that goes for all of us. We are workers of government and we serve the people, period,” he said.
In an interview with reporters after the event, Mr. Duterte clarified that the decision to file corruption charges even if the BOC employees resign from their posts is is up to the Ombudsman.
“That will be up to the Ombudsman, that is not my discretion. The Ombudsman is the prosecutor of government employees who are facing charges,” he said.
The BOC employees were ordered to report to him on Monday, Duterte said.
“Let me be very clear: I will relieve them of their duties. As yet, they are not ousted or dismissed because of the right to be heard but I already removed them from their posts to prevent further damage to government interest,” the President said.
He said those facing charges were involved in anomalous shipments of contraband, not just the “shabu” (crystal meth) smuggling controversies which has plagued the BOC.
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