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Despite TRO, Alcazaren takes over as Cebu OIC port collector

/ 07:26 AM October 04, 2013

The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court stopping the transfer of 27 customs collectors to an office in the Department of Finance (DOF) did not prevent lawyer Paul S. Alcazaren from assuming as acting district collector of the Port of Cebu.

Alcazare, the sub-port collector at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, was designated by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon to replace Edward Dela Cuesta.

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He assumed the function of OIC district collector on Oct. 1, the date when Branch 22 of the Manila RTC issued a 72-hour TRO that ends today.

Alcazaren took over with the assistance of Department of Finance personnel sent in from Manila.

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“They are here to audit the number of personnel after the freeze revamp and the appointment of the new officer-in-charge in different ports,” he said of the DOF personnel.

“They (DOF representatives) also checked if those who were ordered to report to their designated post have complied and to check the vacant posts,” he added.

As of now, there is only one vacant post which is the Deputy Collector for Administration.

The Deputy Collector for Operations Francis Erpe and Deputy Collector for Assessment Lourdes Mangaoang retained their posts by virtue of the TRO released on Tuesday.

A hearing on the merits of the petition filed by 15 district collectors that included Dela Cuesta, Mangaoang ang Erpe begins today.

Dela Cuesta and Erpe vacated their posts while Mangaoang returned to here regular position here last Wednesday from the Port of Cagayan de Oro where she was designated acting district collector.

The 15 petitioners questioned the order of DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima and Biazon for them to vacate their regular positions in the BOC and report to a newly-organized office under the DOF, – Custom Policy Research Office (CPRO) – in Manila.

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They argued that transferring them to this newly-created office is tantamount to a demotion as they will become “mere researchers in the newly-created research office.” This they claim violates their security of tenure as government executives.

“They need to resolve that in 20 days so that it won’t be automatically lifted,” Lawyer Alcazaren said.

Last September 26, Biazon ordered 27 district collectors to report to the CPRO and appointed acting district collectors in all ports nationwide.

The row in the BOC came after President Aquino branded it as one of the most corrupt government agencies during his State of the Nation Address last June.

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