Duterte meets with erring Customs personnel

Published July 19, 2019, 10:32 AM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte reiterated his directive to erring Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel allegedly involved in corruption to hand in their resignation during a meeting in Malacañang on Thursday.


Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President stressed that there is no room for corruption under the present administration.

The President also reassured the Customs officials and employees that they will be given due process.

“The President has been forthright in telling these customs officials and employees that corruption has no place under his watch. He told them that consistent with due process, they will be given their day in court,” Panelo said early Friday.

“Let this serve as a reminder to all officials or employees in the government that they cannot escape liability or accountability for their acts of corruption under the Duterte administration,” he added.

Duterte also reiterated that charges will be filed against the alleged erring BOC personnel if they will not turn in their resignation. They are also free to question his decision.

“Administrative charges over allegations of corrupt practices in office will be filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman, unless they opt to resign, and the prosecutors will ask for their immediate suspension,” Panelo said.

“PRRD assured them that he would not begrudge them if they would avail of legal remedies to question their removal from office,” he added.

“Pending the filing of cases, they shall be in floating status without authority to act on official matters,” he continued.

The President, meanwhile, thanked the BOC officials and employees for coming to Malacañang, saying this shows that they still respect him.

“He thanked them for accepting his invitation to meet him in Malacañang, which according to him, showed they still have respect for him,” Panelo said.

Last week, Duterte said that if he had it his way, he would have already dismissed 64 Customs employees because of their supposed involvement in corruption in the Bureau.

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

“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 new implementing rules on how not to rob a country properly,” he added.

Duterte also said that it would 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.