Duterte monitoring 100 more Customs execs linked to corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019   •   245

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is monitoring 100 more Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials allegedly involved in corruption within the agency.

In a speech during the launching of Bataan government center and Business in Balanga town on Thursday, Duterte said he received a list of 164 BOC executives purportedly engaging in corrupt practices.

The president then quoted a former Customs’ employee who said that removing these officials would rid the agency of corruption.

“At itong Customs, I was given a list of 164. They have been there already for 38 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years,” he said.

“Sabi nung taong ma-acquit sana, an ex-employee of — sa Customs, ‘itong mga tao na ito, ‘Mayor, kung matanggal mo ito, mawawala ang corruption sa gobyerno,’” he added.

“In the meantime that I am investigating the 64, I think they were already suspended by the Ombudsman, I’m still trying to look for these 100 idiots, these sons of a b****,” the president further stated.

Sixty-four of these officials have already been placed on floating status in July and are facing administrative and criminal charges for unlawful activities.

READ: Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

Duterte earlier suggested the removal of brokers and examiners at the Customs bureau to significantly reduce corruption in the agency.

He also suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

READ: Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday (Sept.11) but have yet to release any information on their discussion on a new system seeking to eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to respond to quake-affected residents in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed sympathy to those who were affected by the earthquake in several parts of Mindanao, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement, Panelo said the administration is asking the public to refrain from spreading disinformation which may cause undue alarm, panic, and stress to many.

In view of possible aftershocks, the Palace asks the public to remain calm and vigilant.

Panelo also gave the assurance that the national government, through the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), is closely monitoring the situation and that the President has already ordered concerned agencies to act appropriately in assisting those who were affected.

“The Office of the President has already tasked all concerned agencies of the government to mobilize, respond and provide immediate assistance to those in need, as well as to study plans on how to rehabilitate the damaged areas,” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte names former House Speaker Belmonte special envoy to Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte in an undated photo that was released on May 10, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte as Special Envoy to Japan.

Based on a document from Malacañang released on Wednesday, Belmonte was appointed as special envoy to Japan for trade and market access.

Belmonte was appointed by Duterte on Oct. 15, Tuesday.

He served as Representative of the 4th District of Quezon City for three terms, and was elected as House speaker of the 15th and 16th Congress during the time of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, respectively.

Belmonte was Liberal Party’s former vice chairman before he resigned in September last year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

BOC arrests Indonesian after bag yields P54M worth of shabu

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A female Indonesian was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Monday after her bag was found with P54 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

The BOC said the Indonesian national, identified as Agnes Alexandra, was apprehended when she arrived from Siem Reap, Cambodia early Monday morning as an X-ray scanning of her luggage showed suspected dangerous drugs.

Upon closer inspection, Customs personnel found eight kilograms of crystalline substances wrapped in aluminum foil and concealed under the lining of the baggage.

The substance turned positive for shabu when subjected to a test.

Alexandra and the confiscated drugs have been turned over to the custody of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The foreigner will face charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

On September 28, the BOC said it also seized a similar shipment from another passenger from Cambodia.

This prompted the bureau to place all flights from the so-called “Golden Triangle” (Laos, Thailand and Myanmar) and neighboring countries under red alert for suspicion that a syndicate with the same name may be behind the illegal shipment.

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