Death penalty vs law enforcers who disobeyed anti-agri smuggling law sought
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Robin Padilla has formally sought the passage of a measure seeking to impose capital punishment against personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other uniformed or law enforcement agencies found violating the anti-agricultural smuggling law.
His proposal is contained in his filed Senate Bill No. 2214, amending the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, which the senator announced just before a Senate hearing on alleged unabated agricultural smuggling was suspended on Thursday.
Padilla explained that under his bill, the death penalty will be imposed against violators from the BOC, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, or any other uniformed or law enforcement agency.
“Bakit ko po ginawa ito? Dahil sa atin pong maiksing pagdinig ngayon, sabi nga ng katabi ko hindi parang may mafia, kundi may mafia na sa loob,” he said.
(Why did I do this? Because of our short hearing today, as my seatmate said, it’s not like there’s a mafia, but there’s already a mafia inside.)
His office later released a copy of the bill.
“We have to send a strong message that the large-scale agricultural smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, and cartel of agricultural products perpetrated by the officers and employees of the Bureau of Customs, are heinous and a threat to the very foundation of our society. Hence, there is a compelling reason to impose death penalty,” Padilla said in the bill.
Earlier in the hearing, the senator raised the possibility that a “mafia” has already infiltrated the BoC.
The senator initially inquired if the BOC has an internal affairs unit investigating its own men for possible involvement on smuggling.
“Nagkukuwentuhan nga po kami ni Senator (JV) Ejercito parang ang dating may mafia na yata dyan sa loob eh,” Padilla sad.
(I was talking with Senator [JV] Ejercito, and it seems like there is already a mafia there.)
Responding to the query, BOC intelligence chief Richard Rebong said those involved were “properly identified.”
“Ano pong pinakaparusa dyan, binabaril sa plaza? Ganun ba?” Padilla asked.
(What’s the maximum punishment there, are they being shot in the square? Is that so?)
Assistant BOC Commissioner Vincent Maronilla explained that pending investigation, these erring customs personnel are relieved from their posts so they could not influence the probe.
Maronilla said the bureau may then recommend the dismissal of these personnel or the filing of case before the Office of the Ombudsman.