By Betheena Unite
After the dismissal and suspension of seven Bureau of Customs (BOC) officers from the service by the Ombudsman, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero revealed Tuesday that more of the agency’s officers are currently facing investigation for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
Guerrero bared that a total of 119 names of customs officers were actually submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation two weeks ago.
The newly-dismissed officers and the 52 customs personnel, who met with the President in July, days before he delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address, were included in the list, the commissioner said.
“So, after the election, I submitted recommendations to the President based on our evaluation. What we submitted initially was a list of 64, but later it became 52 because we found out that some of those submitted to the President already resigned or retired,” Guerrero said.
These numbers of officers initially identified to be involved in corrupt practices rose to 119 as a result of their continuous internal evaluation in the bureau, the commissioner said.
Most of them were facing administrative cases, while some were being made liable for criminal offenses.
These erring customs officers have been under “floating status” as the President ordered the bureau to remove them from their position, and not let them hold any office in the bureau.
“Even before the issuance of the orders (from the Ombudsman), we have all these BOC employees placed under the Compliance Monitoring Unit for us to be able to monitor them,” Guerrero said.
The list of erring customs officers, Guerrero averred, did not stop at 119.
“The list of 119 is not the end of it, because our evaluation is monthly. We are evaluating the performances, examiners, investigators, enforcers, everyone even the standards and criteria. At the end of the year, whether you like it or not, talagang pasensyahan na lang,” Guerrero stressed.
Meanwhile, the status of the seven customs officers ordered for dismissal and suspension will be “executed immediately,” according to Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla.
“We’ve receive it (order from the Ombudsman), we will implement it. I think we will be given about five days (to implement it). The order of the commissioner is to immediately execute it. So we will execute it immediately,” Maronill said.
The dismissed and suspended customs officers may, however, file a motion for reconsideration, he added.