Aquino slams graft and corruption at customs bureau
It’s like being slapped in the face.
This was President Benigno Aquino III’s angry reaction to the continuing corruption at the Bureau of Customs despite measures put in place by former Commissioner Angelito Alvarez and the latter’s successor, Ruffino Biazon.
Apologizing early on to those who might be offended by what he was about to say, the President expressed his displeasure at the horror stories of corruption involving the bureau and its personnel, in his speech at the agency’s 110th anniversary celebration Monday.
The President cited several cases, including that of the Porsche-driving Customs clerk who is now facing administrative charges for firing a gun at two students and beating them up following a traffic altercation.
“It’s a kind of mentality that he’s better than the rest, isn’t it,’’ the Chief Executive said in his speech which, he pointed out, he had rewritten at the last minute so he could say his piece.
Malacañang has ordered the Customs clerk’s dismissal as a result of the incident.
Mr. Aquino also cited the case of someone he knew whose aide ended up waiting for almost an entire day for the release of a package at the Post Office just because he was not able to treat the employees there to merienda (snacks).
“The merienda even had a price—P2,500,’’ Mr. Aquino said, adding that the aide ended up waiting for the package to be released at 3 p.m. even though he got there at 9 a.m.
The President also mentioned someone whom he said had bragged that his watch was worth millions of pesos. When this person was asked what his job was, he answered that he was “one of the biggest rice and sugar smugglers in the country.’’
Mr. Aquino said that these kinds of stories were a slap to his face.
“I can take being slapped for the sake of the country but what I find unacceptable is for the needs of the people to be slapped. They (corrupt) trample on the people who gave them the opportunity to serve them. That can’t be,” he said.
The President appealed to the customs bureau to help fix the system as he vowed to fix the state it was in.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.