64 erring BOC employees ordered to Malacañang to file resignations, craft anti-robbing IRR

Published July 11, 2019, 6:12 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Argyll Geducos

After going over various intelligence reports, President Duterte said that he will dismiss 64 employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) involved in corruption, ordering them to go report to Malacañang on Monday to hand in their resignation or he will press charges against them.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the mass oath taking of newly appointed government officials at the Malacañan Palace on July 8, 2019. (TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement a day after he ordered the “freezing” of several high-ranking BOC officials and employees over their supposed involvement in corruption activities.

In a speech in Malacañang, Duterte said he would have fired all of them immediately if not for their right to be heard.

“I was reading the dossier from all intelligence sources and I am… If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees,” he said.

Duterte also said he called the Customs employees to Malacañang on Monday, jesting that he will ask them to help craft a document on how to rob the country.

“In the meantime that their cases are being heard, in obedience of the rule of the right to be heard, I want them to be here in Malacañan. My view is that help me craft a new implementing rules of how not to rob a country properly,” he said.

“So I will be asking them to report here. And from the sources that I have commissioned, akin lang, I would have cut down corruption by a third or one-half,” he added.

The President then reminded them they are in the government to serve the people, telling them that they should just resign or face charges.

“It’s a simple case of — you resign or I file charges. And that goes for all of us. We are workers of government and we serve the people, period,” Duterte said.

In an interview after his speech, Duterte said that it will be up to the Ombudsman to file cases against the erring Customs officials if they decide to resign.

“That will be up to the Ombudsman, that is not my discretion. The Ombudsman is the prosecutor sa mga tiga-gobyerno (of people in government) who are facing charges,” he said.

While they are investigated, Duterte said he opted to remove them from their posts so that no further damage can be done to the government.

“I will relieve them of their duties. As yet they are not ousted or dismissed because of the right to be heard but pinatanggal ko na sila sa trabaho nila ngayon (I had them removed from their positions) to prevent further damage sa (to) government interest,” he said.

On Wednesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that the names of those officials and employees who are “frozen” will be revealed at the appropriate time by the President.

Over the weekend, Duterte said that he was going to fire more people from the BOC due to their supposed corrupt practices. On Monday, the President said that at least four people will be sacked.

Earlier, Duterte reiterated that he is thinking of placing the BOC under the watch of the military just to curb the corruption looming in the agency.