Customs official dared: Name solons behind ex-generals’ sacking
(Updated 6 p.m.)
THE House of Representatives dared Deputy Customs Commissioner Jessie Dellosa to name the lawmakers who supposedly had a hand in removing the eight retired generals from the Bureau of Customs.
Dellosa attended the House of Representatives ways and means committee hearing Tuesday when Chairman Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo confronted him about his accusation that some of the committee members were responsible for the Customs shake-up.
Dellosa had blamed politics in the removal of the generals, saying members of the ways and means committee scrapped the budget allotted for their projects.
“They were removed by the congressman from their post by restricting their budget… I could not recall the names. That’s only my suspicion,” Dellosa told the ways and means committee.
Afterward, Dellosa criticized Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo for the latter’s statement published in the Inquirer calling the sacked generals inutile and saying it is “good riddance” that they were removed from their posts.
“It’s unfair para sa mga retired generals na sabihing inutile, good riddance, incompetent. I think it’s unfair para sa mga generals, they have served the country for almost 37 years tapos sasabihin mo na ganun,” Dellosa said.
(It’s unfair for the retired generals to say that they are inutile, [removing them from their posts] a good riddance and they are incompetent. I think it’s unfair for the[retired] generals, they have served the country for almost 37 years then you would say those things.)
Dellosa blamed Gunigundo for scrapping their budget. However, Gunigundo was not present during the hearing.
Quimbo then dared Dellosa to name the representatives who he said were behind the deletion of the budget.
However, Dellosa said he only suspected that the congressmen were behind the removal of the generals.
“It’s very hard if you don’t have basis, if I will just speculate,” Dellosa said.
“Wala namang ganyanan,” Quimbo said.
(Don’t say such things.)
Quimbo backed his colleagues and said the generals were removed because of their poor performance in collecting custom taxes.
“Never are we questioning your dedication and loyalty to the country… Ang sinasabi lang rito, importante ang pangangalap ng pondo at tila base sa datos na galing sa inyo, hindi sila nakakaperform (The only thing pointed out here is that collecting funds is important and it seems like, based on the data which came from your office, they were not able to perform),” Quimbo said.
“Humihingi lang kami ng fairness, na kaya namin tumuligsa dahil trabaho din namin yun,” Quimbo said.
(We are only asking for fairness, we can criticize because that’s a part of our job as well.)
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).
The poorest performing ports were Limay, Aparri (Cagayan) and San Fernando, with revenues falling short of their annual goals by P23 billion, P455 million and P35 million, respectively.
The hearing, however, did not tackle an Inquirer report that the generals were sacked because their replacements were tasked to raise election funds at the Customs.
Citing sources, the Inquirer had reported that the replacement of the former officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was “election-related” aimed at raising campaign funds for some administration candidates.
“There’s talk the set of port collectors will be tasked to raise campaign funds” for some administration candidates in the May elections, among other functions, according to the Inquirer source.
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