Customs personnel tagged in corruption to face admin raps before Ombudsman – Palace
Robie de Guzman • July 19, 2019 • 2574
MANILA, Philippines – Officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) tagged in corruption allegations will face administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, Malacañang said on Friday.
“Administrative charges over allegations of corrupt practices in office will be filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman, unless they opt to resign, and the prosecutors will ask for their immediate suspension,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte met with dozens of customs personnel in Malacañang.
Panelo said Duterte told them they will be given their day in court as part of the due process.
“The President has been forthright in telling these customs officials and employees that corruption has no place under his watch,” Panelo said.
“PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] assured them that he would not begrudge them if they would avail of legal remedies to question their removal from office,” he added.
The president, Panelo said, “thanked them for accepting his invitation to meet him in Malacañang, which according to him, showed they still have respect for him.”
While waiting for the formal filing of charges, the said customs officials will be “in floating status without authority to act on official matters.”
The chief executive earlier ordered for the freezing of several high-ranking customs officials who were accused of corrupt practices in office.
“Let this serve as a reminder to all those officials or employees in the government that they cannot escape liability or accountability for their acts of corruption under the Duterte administration,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte announced he is giving his one month salary amounting to P400,000 to help in the implementation of the national government’s action plan in fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Meanwhile, other members of the President’s Cabinet also have agreed to give 75% of their monthly salaries from April to December of this year as support, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo added that other department secretaries also agreed to share by giving a portion of their respective salaries.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives are targeting to raise P100-M to boost financial aid to those affected by the pandemic.
About 200 congressmen have pledged to donate their full salary for the month of May to help the government’s efforts against COVID-19.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said they are raising an initial P50-M from the lawmakers while they plan to source out the other 50-M from other private individuals and groups to complete the P100-M pledge.
Cayetano said they are set to discuss on Wednesday as to which particular government effort they would donate the fund.
“Ayaw naman namin na halimbawa bumili ng PPEs iyon pala may P5-B or P2-B worth of PPEs o kaya bumili ng pagkain iyon pala may provisions na sa pagkain,” Cayetano said.
“We want to use the money where it will be most effective,” he added.
Malacanang, meanwhile, is pleased with the support from other branches of government.
“The Office of the President is pleased to know that the two other branches of the government have their own program of helping the battle against COVID-19 even as we acknowledge the support given by various heads of offices and agencies in their personal capacities to thwart the COVID-19 pandemic,” Panelo said. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson is calling on the government to thoroughly look into the protest held by some residents in Quezon City on Wednesday.
The rally held by several residents from Barangay Bagong Pag-asa to demand aid from the local government prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to issue a stern warning against those who violate the law and cause trouble during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Duterte earlier told police and the military to “shoot” troublemakers if the situation puts their lives on the line. He also called for the public’s patience as the government works to deliver assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“Definitely, the President’s warning to have ‘troublemakers’ during the enhanced community quarantine shot was exaggerated and harsh. But coming from this President, what else is new?” he said in a statement issued Thursday.
Police earlier voiced out suspicion that the incident may have been instigated by a left-leaning group.
Lacson, citing his background on law enforcement and intelligence, said the answer on whether the protest was “politically instigated” lies on the investigation as he has suggested to authorities.
He said the probe would show if the protest was indeed a valid “hunger-driven spontaneous act of people” out of exasperation or a “politically instigated act of violence by sinister groups” out to destabilize the administration.
“I couldn’t help but suggest to authorities to thoroughly investigate if the ‘riot’ in Quezon City involving protesters demanding aid – but in violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine – was indeed a valid “hunger-driven” spontaneous act of people who simply lost their patience out of exasperation, or a politically instigated act of violence by sinister groups out to take advantage and destabilize the administration and duly constituted authority,” he said.
“As such, concerned authorities may opt to look into the possibility that Wednesday’s incident could be a “dry run” to test public sentiment as well as the ability of law enforcers to respond,” he added.
He said that at least one group, specifically the urban poor group Kadamay, posted an “invitation” on its Facebook page to an event scheduled for April 1.
“Muling mangalampag bukas April 1. April Fool’s Day pero ang mamamayan ay hindi na maloloko sa napakabagal at inutil na pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng sambayanan,” Kadamay said on a Facebook post, dated March 31.
Lacson, however, clarified that this is not to say that protests during the COVID-19 quarantine should be presumed as politically instigated.
“There is no saying, however, that all protests during the ECQ should be presumed as politically instigated. Yet, it cannot be denied that there may be groups with motive to exploit the volatility of the situation to advance their own political agenda,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday said it has seized P15 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) suspected to be smuggled in a series of operations in Manila.
The BOC said the PPEs were confiscated from three shops in Sta. Cruz, Manila that were jointly raided by the agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday, March 31.
Authorities recovered various PPEs, including gloves, face masks (surgical and N95), and goggles that are suspected to have been misdeclared as general merchandise when imported into the country.
“Smuggled PPE may pose a health risk to users since such items may not comply with the safety standards set by the government rendering them not fit for human utilization,” the bureau said in a statement.
The BOC said the inventory of said products is ongoing, while store owners were given 15 days to present necessary documents to prove that the items were legally imported.
“If proven that the PPEs were smuggled the store owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act (CMTA),” the BOC said.
“Although the Bureau is focused in expediting the importation of PPE and other medical supplies badly needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is also committed in ensuring that goods are within acceptable standards and are safe for the public use,” it added.
The BOC recently raided a shop allegedly selling PPE and alcohol at exorbitant prices online amid high demand for such medical supplies.
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