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Lina should have been axed, says ex-BOC exec

/ 01:50 AM February 01, 2016

CITING command responsibility, one of the eight dismissed officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said that Commissioner Alberto Lina should have been the one fired for the agency’s failure to meet its 2015 revenue target of P436 billion.

“Why put the blame on us instead? Why should we be faulted for the ports’ reduced revenue collections attributed mainly to the fall in global oil prices? It’s unfair,” retired Army Brig. Gen. Bonifacio de Castro told the Inquirer.

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The bureau collected only P366 billion, for a shortfall of over P70 billion last year.

De Castro also assailed Lina for allowing them to be dismissed based on political concerns, not on merit. That, he said, made his former boss “inutile” and “inefficient.”

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The former Armed Forces officer had served as Customs district collector at the Port of San Fernando in La Union.

De Castro alleged that their removal from the BOC was part of a “last-minute fund raising activity” by some unnamed people and groups supporting certain candidates in the May elections.

He said was an issue some top Customs officials would rather not talk about.

Contacted by phone, Lina brushed aside De Castro’s claims, saying he had nothing to do with the dismissal of the ex-military officers.

“It’s Congress that disapproved (the generals’) budgetary appropriations,” Lina said.

Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa, resigned BOC Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares have joined some BOC reform team members in taking up the cudgels for the retired military officers.

Dellosa said that same politicians, including certain congressmen he did not identify, actually worked hard to have the eight retired Armed Forces officers removed from their posts.

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Both Dellosa and De Castro belong to Philippine Military Academy Class of 1979.

Sevilla had posted on his Facebook account that the officers had “stepped on plenty of toes.”

“Congress, that great institution of vested interests in Customs, finally figured out a way to get them fired,” Sevilla said.

Aside from De Castro, also dismissed from the BOC were Esteban Castro (Clark International Airport), Ernesto Benitez Jr. (Port of Batangas), Mario Mendoza (Port of Manila), Elmir de la Cruz (Manila International Container Port), Arnulfo Marcos (Port of Cebu), Jerry Lorescom (Port of Zamboanga) and Rolando Ricafrente (Port of Limay in Bataan).

Last year, 11 of the country’s 17 major ports missed their revenue goals, with the ports of Batangas and Limay posting the highest collection shortages during the period.

Limay reportedly fell short of its P45.27-billion target by over P23 billion while Batangas collected only P82.3 billion of its P96.03-billion goal.

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TAGS: Alberto Lina, Army Brig. Gen. Bonifacio de Castro, Bureau of Customs, Nation, news
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