Duterte mulls bringing Army to Customs bureau

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2019 10:28 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2019 10:39 PM

(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will fire more officials at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“I will go for Customs again there will be a lot of dismissal,” Duterte said in his speech at the inauguration of the Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Complex in Alangalang, Leyte.

Duterte in October 2018 ordered the Armed Forces to take over the corruption-plagued bureau after billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs slipped past its watch.

He warned that he would bring soldiers to replace corrupt officials within the agency.

“When I go back, I would be firing more from the Bureau of Customs. I'm just telegraphing maybe ilagay ko na sa Army,” Duterte said.

'Tara' system persists

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier revealed that it was "business as usual” for corrupt Customs officials, as he lamented the continued entry of illegal drugs into the Philippines.

Lacson said almost two years after his exposé on the “tara” (grease money) system at the BOC, the illegal practice still persists.

“Despite my exposé on the massive corruption inside the Bureau of Customs, much to my dismay, I was informed just recently that the tara system has not been, by any chance, suppressed,” Lacson said in a privilege speech.

Citing his “sources,” Lacson said for the Office of the Commissioner (OCom), an average of P5,000 grease money was being distributed for every container “plus 10 percent of the collections of each section/office directly under the OCom.”

The Intelligence Group supposedly receives P3,000 per container, P3,000 for the Risk Management Office, P2,000 to P3,000 for the Import and Assessment Service, and P1,000 to P2,000 for the Enforcement Group, Lacson said.