Ombudsman probes 119 BOC employees for various anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019   •   1332

The Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating 119 Bureau of Customs (BOC) employees due to various anomalies.

These employees are currently in floating status, according to BOC Commissioner Leonardo Guerrero.

“Ang instruction kasi ni President (The instruction of the president) is for them not to hold any position or office. So in the meantime, we have to account for them and the only way to account for them is to make sure we implement organizational mechanism that would make sure that they report daily for us to be able to know where they are in case they will be summoned for investigation,” he said.

Twenty-seven BOC employees were given a show cause order for their alleged involvement in corruption while the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of seven BOC executives.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved the dismissal of deputy collector for operations of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) Ramon Hernandez; Customs Operations Officer Lomonto Macabando; Customs Officers III Vanzandt Remonde and Vicente Gamboa; Customs Special Police assistant chief Jaybee Raul Cometa; BOC-Zamboanga Special Agent Oscar Farin and Customs security guard Renly Tiñana.

The administrative offenses committed by the officials include grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

One employee, meanwhile, was suspended due to gross insubordination.

Guerrero also admits the ‘Tara System’ in BOC still exists. He also said he still receives offers from various individuals.

“Ilang beses ko pa ba sasabihin na ako hindi ako tumatanggap, hindi ako tatanggap at never akong tumanggap (How many times do I have to tell you, I do not accept [bribes], have not accepted [bribes], and will never accept [bribes]),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte backs call for Ombudsman probe on Pharmally issue

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte supports a call for the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on the government’s alleged anomalous procurement of pandemic supplies.

The president was referring to the appeal of the Philippine College of Physicians for the Ombudsman to file appropriate cases against all those accountable in the controversial multibillion-peso deals between the government and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

“We welcome the call of the Philippine College of Physicians that this matter should be immediately given to our courts and the Ombudsman. We have been saying this for the longest time and we all know that the Senate cannot prosecute. Mabuti pa ang mga doktor alam at naintindihan nila,” Duterte said.

“File cases is the right way to go. Stop using this issue in aid of election. Problema kasi sa Senate natin trying hard maghanap ng mga issue na may nangungurakot o kaya may nagkakapera,” he added.

The chief executive stated that, to date, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has yet to build a case out of the hearings it has conducted, pointing out that that the said government deal was consistent with Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act.

“And so we go back now to what has been established many times, walang overpricing […} legal ang naging proseso ng pagbili, according to what has been provided by Bayanihan 1. Na-deliver lahat at binayaran nang pagkatapos na-deliver,” the president insisted.

Duterte also dared the Senate to bring the matter to the proper courts.

“And if you think that you have identified companies with tax issues, then file the appropriate cases. Matagal na naman namin sinasabi, kasuhan niyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. Lahat naman talaga dapat magbayad ng buwis at kung kailangan magbayad, singilan para magbayad iyong may mga atraso sa gobyerno kagaya ni Senator Gordon,” Duterte said.

“Eh you call my memorandum ‘stupid?’ Well, I challenge you: bring your arguments to the proper court and I will answer you,” he further stated.

The president also slammed Senator Richard Gordon for threatening to cut the budget of the executive department if the officials will not attend the Blue Ribbon’s hearings, calling it a blatant abuse of power.

“You threaten the budget of different agencies of the Executive because the officials refuse to attend to your hearings. Ito ‘yung mga pang-abuso talaga itong masabi ko sa gobyerno — sa gobyerno ‘pag ka demokrasya, itong separation of powers, co-equal and everything; and they threatened to paralyze government,” Duterte said.

“I challenge you, do it. ‘Pag ka ‘yung mga hearing reduce the budget by one third, hinahamon ko kayo, gawain ninyo ‘yan,” he added. —/mbmf

BOC seizes P17 million worth of smuggled agri, frozen food products

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday said it has confiscated an estimated P17 million worth of smuggled agricultural and frozen food products in various operations.

In a statement, the BOC said that P2 million worth of frozen food products were seized in San Nicolas in Manila and P15 million in Caloocan City.

The items were confiscated on Oct. 15 in a simultaneous operations conducted by teams from the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) of Manila International Container Port (MICP), National Bureau of Investigation, and PCG Task Force Aduana.

The BOC said the operation was launched when the items arrived at the cold storage facilities.

In the initial inventory of the goods in San Nicolas Manila, the bureau said that hundreds of boxes of frozen Peking duck, shabu-shabu balls, dimsum, mushroom, Chinese sausage, and others were found.

On the other hand, frozen pork, chicken, fish, beef plus pork liver, fish skin, and others were found in Caloocan.

“Since other regulated imported foodstuff was found, a Letter of Authority was then issued by the Commissioner against the owners, representatives, and whoever is in possession of the imported goods found,” the bureau said.

On the same date, two containers initially declared as “frozen malt” were inspected and found out to contain smuggled onions.

The shipment that arrived at Port of Cagayan de Oro was consigned to South Road Consumer Goods Trading.

Meanwhile, on October 18 at the same port, another examination of two containers consigned to Glimmer Cape Food Products Trading said to contain seasoning, was conducted resulting in the discovery of onions.

The subject goods shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture proceedings in violation of Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the BOC said.

P3 million worth of smuggled onions seized in Cagayan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2021

Two containers filled with onions allegedly smuggled from China were confiscated at the Port of Cagayan de Oro, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a news release on Monday, the BOC said the containers were seized last October 15.

The shipment, which was consigned to South Road Consumer Goods Trading, arrived in Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) Sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The BOC said the containers were declared to contain “frozen malt” but was later found to be onions when subjected to physical examination.

The bureau said the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS-CDO) Field Station led by IO1 Oliver Valiente was alerted of the shipment after receiving derogatory information for possibly containing smuggled goods.

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention was already recommended for issuance against the smuggled shipment, it added.

Atty. Elvira Cruz, District Collector of the Port of Cagayan de Oro commended the vigilance of the customs personnel against smuggled vegetables which have been affecting local farmers as the influx of cheap agricultural products in the market significantly reduce their income.

Last September, the BOC said the Port of Cagayan de Oro destroyed P13.5 million worth of smuggled onions from China.

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