By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte fired Bureau of newly appointed Customs (BOC) Deputy Commissioner Noel Prudente for his supposed excessive travels to Singapore and Europe.
Duterte revealed his decision during the condemnation of 122 smuggled luxury vehicles worth P34.71 million in Port Area, Manila Wednesday.
In his speech, Duterte said that the House of Representatives is now investigating Prudente so he decided to spare the legislative branch from the agony.
“He is now under investigation by the House. Matagal ‘yang investigation sa House (That investigation will take quite some time now). So I will cut short the agony of Congress. I am firing him today. Noel Patrick Sales Prudente. Deputy commissioner. I am firing him effective today,” he said.
“If you are fired, I’m sorry, but that’s the way it should be,” he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, also reminded Customs workers to be wary as they are being monitored due to the agency’s bad reputation that was established over the past years.
“We’re all being monitored dahil itong Customs kasi (because as for the Bureau of Customs), it’s always considered as the purgatory of government services,” he said.
According to Duterte, Prudente has made an intrapersonal travel to Singapore, personal travel to Singapore, and even a personal travel to Europe when he has not enjoyed a Europe trip himself.
Prudente was appointed by Duterte in February this year only. He took over the vacated post at the BOC’s Information System and Technology Group.
Prudente was one of the four Customs officials summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) about the release of a shipment containing misdeclared and highly dutiable goods.
This week, the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means expressed that they are looking into reports that 105 shipping containers slipped past the Manila South Harbor’s port operator Asian Terminal Inc. after the BOC issued a “manual” and not electronic alert orders.
Prudente had explained that the alert ordered were issued because the response to lodging entry was slow, pointing out that the BOC processes an average of 6,000 entries daily.
For the past five months, Duterte has been in a firing spree of government officials for alleged corruption and other abuses in office, these include those officials who have excessive travels.
Duterte earlier explained that he had nothing against foreign trips especially if it would benefit the country. However, he has a different opinion on lavish travels that has little or no effect on the country at all. He also said that excessive and unnecessary foreign trips waste taxpayers’ money and it slows down the function of the government.