Corruption prevalent in Customs but Guerrero is clean –Duterte

Published November 3, 2020, 5:51 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is confident that Bureau of Customs (BoC) chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero is not involved in corruption and actually performs his job well. 


In his televised public address Monday, the President disclosed that he was “excluding” Guerrero from those implicated in corruption in the bureau. He said the customs commissioner has so far removed many officials who are involved in irregularities in the bureau.

“As I have said, I will dedicate the last two years or whatever is left of my term to fight corruption. Marami ito, marami ito (There are a lot). Itong famous is Customs (Customs is famous for it),” he said during a televised meeting with government officials on typhoon response Monday.

“I am excluding Jagger. Kaya ko inilagay siya diyan eh and he is working well. Marami na siyang napaalis (That’s why I placed him there and he is working well. He has removed a lot),” he said.

Duterte noted that many customs personnel have either been dismissed, suspended, or still facing investigation under Guerrero’s watch. But he reminded the customs investigators not only to look into administrative complaints but also criminal complaints against erring public servants.

“In Customs, 20 have been dismissed, four were suspended probably pending an investigation while four have been reprimanded. At least 135 have been investigated by the BoC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service. Forty-five were charged with administrative cases before the BOC-Legal Service,” he said.

“Now, dito sa administrative, hindi ako… I’m not satisfied. There has to be a law being — to charge with administrative… I’d like to call the Customs na criminal pati administrative talaga (Now on the administrative complaints, I’m not satisfied. There has to be a law being.. to charge with administrative. I’d like to call the Customs to also file criminal and administrative complaints),” he said.

President Duterte earlier ordered a government-wide corruption probe after expressing dismay with the rampant corruption in government. The Department of Justice leads the panel probing the entire government upon the orders of the President.

Duterte said he does not tolerate corruption since the entire administration is dragged into the scandal. He said people usually remember the administration, notnecessarily the concerned official, when corruption allegations are prevalent.

“Ang sabihin, ah p*** ‘yung dumaan ng panahon ni Duterte administration, napaka-corrupt. Dale kami lahat (They will say, during the son of a b*** administration of Duterte, it was very corrupt. We are all affected),” he said.

The National Bureau of Investigation earlier recommended the filing of charges against Guerrero and two other officials for the accreditation of bogus importers. The so-called ghost importers were reportedly able to ship millions worth of items in the country.

Asked about the President’s apparent absolving Guerrero, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque clarified the President was not necessarily clearing anyone from the corruption probe. He said the President, a lawyer, respects the rules of evidence. 

“Sasampahan po ng kaso at kung sapat naman ang ebidensiya beyond reasonable doubt eh maku-convict po sila at makukulong. (Cases will be filed and if there is sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt, they will be convicted and jailed),” he said.