Fit for the job? Solon wants probe on athletes employed by BOC
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Thursday said the House of Representatives should investigate on the competencies of Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials following reports that close to 40 basketball and volleyball players are employed by the bureau.
“Kung hindi ako nagkakamali base dun sa report na nahawakan namin mga 28 to 34 personalities yung basketball players, volleyball players under the office of the commissioner,” Barbers said in an interview with DZIQ Radyo Inquirer 990.
(If I am not mistaken, based on the report we obtained, 28 to 34 basketball and volleyball players are under the office of the commissioner.)
The BOC is currently being probed by Congress following the alleged mishandling of the 605 kilograms of smuggled crystal meth worth P6.4 billion seized from a Valenzuela City warehouse. The issue also prodded the House to question the capabilities of some Customs officials.
The BOC has fielded a basketball team in the UNTV Cup, while a volleyball team bannered by Alyssa Valdez saw action in the defunct Shakey’s V-League.
“Natanong namin kagabi, anong trabaho nito sa inyo? At sabi n’ya under the office of the commissioner ito ay mga technical consultant daw,” Barbers said.
(We asked them last night what these athletes’ jobs were. They just said that under the office of the commissioner, these athletes were technical consultants.)
The lawmaker, however, clarified their intention to look into Customs officials as part of their probe on alleged “incompetence” of some officials.
“Hindi naman sa nang-aano tayo ng kanilang mga capabilities no, alam natin may kapabilidad ang mga yan. Pero ang punto natin dito eh sige kung hinire mo talaga yan bilang iyong technical consultant eh bigyan n’yo nga kami ng idea ano bang kino-consult nila, ano bang nabibigay nilang impormasyon at kung talagang skilled,” said Barbers.
(It’s not that we are underestimating their capabilities, we know they are capable. But our point here is, if they were hired as technical consults, then the bureau should be able to give us an idea on the matters where they are consulted and if they are really skilled.)
“At bigyan n’yo rin kami ng justification kung talaga sila’y pumapasok sa opisina ng Customs dahil kung hindi aba eh tumatanggap ka ng sweldo. Bigyan mo kami ng daily time record mo d’yan,” he added.
(They should also give us a justification if they really go to the Customs office because they are being paid. They should give us their time record.)
Barbers also pointed out that they asked for the Customs officials’ copy of job description and contract of service with the BOC.
“Para talagang makita natin. Kasi ang balita namin nasa mga P30-50 thousand ang sweldo nila (So that we can verify. Because we heard that they are being paid P30,000 to P50,000),” he said.
The congressman said that so far, their investigations proved that there are some incompetent officials.
“Talagang may incompetent, hindi ko naman nilalahat base po sa investigation at ilang natanong natin (There are really incompetent officials, we are not saying everyone is, that’s based on our investigation and the people we asked.),” said Barbers.
The lawmaker also appealed to all BoC officials to remember their responsibility and accountability to the country.
“Nilagay nga kayo d’yan para makatulong sa Pangulo at lalung-lalo na sa kampanya sa droga eh kita nyo nalusutan pa kayo ng 6.4 billion na halaga ng droga. Nahuli pa ‘yan not because of their own intelligence work (pero dahil) may nag-tip,” said Barbers.
(You were appointed to help the President especially in his war on drugs, but P6.4-billion-worth of shabu slipped past your agency. It was discovered not because of your own intelligence work but because of a tip.) IDL
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