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Politics blamed for Customs shakeup

/ 12:23 AM January 20, 2016
Jessie D. Dellosa

Deputy Customs Commissioner Jessie Dellosa. AFP FILE PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The dismissal of the eight retired military officers as customs collectors at the Bureau of Customs was more political than based on merits, Deputy Customs Commissioner Jessie Dellosa said on Monday.

“It’s because of politics. They had been victims of politics,” Dellosa, who heads the Bureau of Customs intelligence office, said.

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He said politicians including congressmen, whom he did not identify, actually worked hard to have the retired military officers removed from their posts. The reason was unclear, he said.

They have actually long sought their removal as port collectors, Dellosa said.

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Pressed to identify these politicians, he said they included members of the House ways and means committee.

Dellosa said the height of the action against them was when Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo scrapped their budget.

The eight retired military officers replaced were Esteban Castro (Clark International Airport), Ernesto Benitez Jr. (Batangas Port), Mario Mendoza (Port of Manila), Elmir dela Cruz (Manila International Container Port), Arnulfo Marcos (Port of Cebu), Jerry Lorescom (Zamboanga), Bonifacio de Castro (Port of San Fernando) and Rolando Ricafrente (Limay Port).

Uncalled for and unfair

Dellosa said calling the dismissed port collectors as “illegal and inutile” and bidding them good riddance after terminating them was very uncalled for and unfair.

“These (military officers) reached the climax of their military careers without charges. They have accomplished and served so much for the country,” a hurting Dellosa added.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar said she was shocked to know that Lorescom was among the port collectors who was axed.

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Salazar said the city government even recently commended Lorescom for increasing their target revenue collection by 300 percent.

“The city council passed a resolution commending him for the good job; unfortunately, he lost his job very recently. It was a meaningful goodbye,” she said.

Salazar said she could not understand why a performing customs collector such as Lorescom had to be removed from post.   Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Elections 2016, Nation, news, Politics
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