Mayor wants charges against culprits in missing sugar issue PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 11:54

The city government is pushing for legal action against officials and personnel involved in the disappearance of more than half of the 1,170 sacks of smuggled sugar seized by local officials from a vessel off Sangali and Bolong last Tuesday, January 6.

“Administrative and criminal cases against officials or personnel must be filed before the Ombudsman,” said City Mayor Beng Climaco in a press briefing with Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials Tuesday, January 13 at the City Hall Conference Room.

While the local government is entrusting the BOC to conduct its own independent investigation, Climaco emphasized that this does not preclude the local government from pursuing legal action against those involved in the incident.

“Those responsible must be held accountable, and justice must be served,” Climaco declared.

A total of 1,170 sacks of 50 kilos of alleged smuggled sugar was seized by barangay, police and military authorities January 6, and turned over to the BOC the following day.

Upon inspection Friday morning, however, only 325 out of the total confiscated sacks remained at the BOC warehouse at the port area.

A fact-finding investigation was immediately launched by the City Government, through the City Legal Office, and the results of the investigation were tackled during an executive meeting yesterday with Customs Deputy Commissioner for the Intelligence Group Jessie Dellosa.

Foremost among the recommendations presented by the City Government was the need for BOC to conduct an independent investigation looking into the lapses in its procedures and personnel.

“It is therefore respectfully recommended that the Bureau of Customs conduct its own independent, impartial, credible investigation to ensure that those responsible for or are in cahoots with smuggling syndicates would be held liable,” noted Climaco.

The chief executive also called on the BOC to establish protocols that will guide the LGU and enforcing agencies in curbing smuggling incidences.

“We have records to prove and to show that the police and military has participated in an all-out campaign against smuggling. The barangays have already shown that they have acted against smuggling. There should be coordination now, on the part of the BOC, to establish these protocols in terms of anti-smuggling activities, so that agencies like the PDEA and the local government will not be sacrificed,” she said.

Dellosa, who flew in the City along with a team of BOC investigators, assured that the incident and Customs personnel are under investigation.

Dellosa also reported that a task group has been formed to strengthen the anti-smuggling campaign in the ZAMBASULTA region.

Named Task Group ZAMBASULTA, the group will liaise with the local government unit and enforcement agencies to orchestrate and synchronize anti-smuggling efforts. — Jasmine Mohammadsali