Solons slam BOC for hiring athletes as ‘assistants’, ‘intel officers’
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives questioned the use by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of basketball and volleyball players, who played for the BOC’s team, as technical assistants and intelligence officers.
House members took issue with the BOC’s use of basketball players as employees, even though beleaguered customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon in a strongly worded statement called some House members’ alleged endorsement of favored officials as corruption.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu said Faeldon had no ascendancy to criticize the lower House of corruption when his bureau also had its own share of endorsement of favored personalities.
“Huwag tayo magsalita na para pang itong institusyon namin dito na ang mga tao dito ay corrupt, at ‘yung pageendorso mo ay form of corruption. Ito ang tanong ko, ‘yung pangggugulang mo sa isang ganoong klaseng maliit na liga, hindi ba ‘yun form of corruption?” Abu said in an ambush interview with reporters.
(Let’s not talks about our institution as if it were filled with corrupt people, and that your endorsement is a form of corruption. My question is, your participation in that minor league, is that not a form of corruption?)
Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, who chairs the House ways and means committee, also slammed Faeldon’s ascendancy to criticize the lower House of corruption, adding his criticism is not “fair.”
“Sa tingin ko kasi masakit lang na binabanatan niya ang mga kongresista as a whole. Pinaparatangan nila kami… Ang mga players, hindi naman kongresman ang nagendorse doon sa mga ‘yun o nag-rekomenda. Sariling hire naman iyun at saka nandun pa sila hanggang ngayon. Hindi naman ata fair,” Cua said.
(I just feel slighted that he is criticizing congressmen as a whole. He’s accusing us. But those players were not endorsed or recommended by politicians. They were hired by the agency and they are still there up to now. That’s not fair.)
Cua called the hiring of professional basketball players as a “misappropriation or misuse of government funds.”
Surigao Del Sur Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the dangerous drugs committee that investigated the alleged smuggling of P6 billion shabu through the BOC’s green lane, slammed Faeldon’s “hypocrisy.”
“Look who’s talking! Faeldon tarnished the reputation of the entire House of Representatives by insinuating that lawmakers are endorsing promotions or employment to the bureau of certain personnel. Yet, it turned out he has employed sports people with dubious qualifications for their position,” Barbers said.
Faeldon’s tiff with the House started when his chief of staff Mandy Anderson called Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez an “imbecile,” apparently prompted by the Speaker’s supposed lobbying of a certain Sandy Sacluti for a promotion in the BOC. The Speaker denied there was anything wrong with his endorsement, adding that Sacluti was overqualified.
Faced with mounting calls from Alvarez’s allies for him to resign, Faeldon shot back at influence-peddling House members who allegedly pressured the bureau to promote favored employees.
Barbers turned the tables on Faeldon, chiding the commissioner for not promoting Sacluti despite the latter’s Master’s degree, while hiring basketball and volleyball players to work for the bureau.
“Yet, Faeldon hired basketball and volleyball players to work at the Intelligence Group of the bureau. How many of these people are really qualified for intelligence work? No wonder, Customs bungled the handling of evidence in the seizure of the P6.4 billion worth of shabu smuggled right though their noses,” Barbers said.
According to Customs Special Order No. 38-2016 furnished to lawmakers, Atty. Anderson was authorized by Faeldon to sign the daily time record of former PBA stars Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino, and Edward Joseph “EJ” Feihl, among others, as well as volleyball player Alyssa Valdez. IDL
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