Smuggled sacks of rice in a Zamboanga City warehouse | Image via Zamboanga City Government Facebook account
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the suspension of officials responsible for the disappearance of 23,000 sacks of smuggled rice in Zamboanga City in September.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena has already ordered the administrative relief of Zamboanga Customs District Collector Lyceo Martinez and Customs Police District Commander Filomeno Salazar due to the incident.
“Nagalit po talaga ang presidente because how can you lose 23,000 sacks,” said Roque.
“Obviously it cannot be done in a clandestine manner. Nakita ng lahat na inilalabas itong mga nahuling bigas at incredible at kagalit-galit na napupuslit ang ganitong karaming bigas na nahuli na ng gobyerno na being smuggled,” he added.
Authorities were able to recover 16,000 sacks after a series of raids in various warehouses.
There are still 17,000 sacks missing, some of which may have already been repacked and distributed to stores, which is why the President has ordered the National Food Authority, the Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough investigation into the case. — Rosalie Coz