Purisima: I didn’t OK Biazon orders | Inquirer News

Purisima: I didn’t OK Biazon orders

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 01:23 AM October 13, 2013

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has questioned Commissioner Ruffy Biazon’s move of reassigning personnel in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) without his approval.

“It has come to the attention of this department that the Bureau of Customs, through the honorable commissioner, has issued various Customs Personnel Orders (CPOs) without the approval of the Secretary of Finance, ordering personnel movements in the bureau,” Purisima said in “very urgent” memorandum to Biazon last week.


CPOs mandate the transfer of personnel from one unit to another.


The Inquirer on Saturday tried to reach Biazon for a statement, but in a text message, he simply said: “I have no comment.”

Under Section 703 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the BOC chief needs the approval of the finance secretary before he initiates new assignments. The BOC is an attached agency of the Department of Finance.

The CPO signed by Biazon on Sept. 17 transferring 27 customs collectors to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO) as well as another order directing all officials and employees of the BOC to report back to their mother units were approved by the DOF.

Biazon earlier said that the staff movements were on the initiative of the BOC leadership to reform the agency.

Purisima noted that most of the CPOs issued by Biazon “undermine the mandate and purpose” of CPO No. B-134-2013, which ordered all Customs officers and employees to return to their permanent plantilla positions.

“These are also contrary to the statement of President Aquino in his recent speech before the Brotherhood of Christian Business and Professionals on Oct. 2, where he said, ‘Iniatas din ang paguwi sa tamang posisyon ng mga naka-detail na empleyado; wala nang security guard na ginawang collecting officer o warehouseman na examiner’ (We have ordered the employees to return to their respective ports; there will be no security guard made collecting officer or warehouseman as examiners),” part of the memo reads.


“In this regard, we reiterate to the honorable commissioner the requirement of the approval of the Undersigned with respect to the assignment of customs officers and employees, including designations of officers in charge or those in acting capacity,” it added.

Among the CPOs recently issued by Biazon were the ones designating 17 officers in charge of the country’s 17 ports as replacements for the senior collectors who were transferred to the newly created CPRO under the DOF.

On the other hand, while some of the senior collectors complied with the order transferring them to the CPRO, 13 of them had asked the Manila Regional Trial Court for a temporary restraining order (TRO), citing lack of due process and violation of their security of tenure.

They also filed a case of declaratory relief questioning the validity of the CPO mandating their transfer.

The Manila RTC extended for 20 days, including the original 72-hour respite, or until Oct. 20, the court order without the need to post bond.

Purisima earlier expressed dismay over the decision of the Manila RTC, saying the order went against the efforts to clean up the BOC.

“The Manila RTC’s most recent decision serves those who resist reform and cling desperately to the old ways. This runs counter to President Aquino’s agenda to eradicate the predators that plague customs,” Purisima said in a previous statement.

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First posted 7:00 pm | Saturday, October 12th, 2013

TAGS: Conflict, corruption, Customs, Graft, Politics, revamp, Ruffy Biazon, Smuggling

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