Lawmaker, bishop back Palace ouster of customs commissioner | Inquirer News
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Lawmaker, bishop back Palace ouster of customs commissioner

A member of the House of Representatives and a bishop lauded President Aquino’s decision to remove Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez.

“It is high time that the President made the decision because if we were going to leave it to Alvarez to resign, he will not do it,” said Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, who’s usually a staunch critic of Mr. Aquino.

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Magsaysay, a member of the House of Representatives’ committee on ways and means investigating the missing containers, had been calling for the resignation of Alvarez.

“I am relieved that the President has finally opened his eyes to the realities in the bureau because not taking action would hurt the agency in the long run and this would hurt the government’s revenue generation drive as well,” she said.

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Fundraising

Before leaving his post, Alvarez uncovered a huge scam involving smuggling of thousands of containers to raise election campaign funds for the previous Arroyo administration, which he said was the “tipping point” in the antismuggling campaign.

“Perhaps it is an attempt to salvage his reputation or perhaps it is just his way of hitting back at the former administration, because it is an effective means to divert the attention from the controversies besetting the customs administration now,” Magsaysay said.

Talking on Church-run Radio Veritas, Antipolo Auxiliary Bishop Francis de Leon said: “If the President saw that Alvarez was not performing well, particularly on (stopping) smuggling, then it was time that he replace him.”

Political reasons

“It will help the government so that the revenue collected by (the customs bureau) would go up,” he added.

But retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, criticized Mr. Aquino for “putting political reasons” above other considerations in choosing the next customs commissioner.

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“For me, this is the most faulty criterion of appointing administrators and managers to offices that have something to do with development,” Cruz said at The Forum, a Church-sponsored media activity at the Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila.

Cruz said Alvarez’s reported replacement had no experience in raising revenues.

“If you put him there, just wait and we would hear more anomalies because he would still have to study. It would be like taking driving lessons,” Cruz said.

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TAGS: Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, Graft, illegal gambling, Jueteng, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay
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