Celso says erring BoC execs should be charged, sacked PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:28

District 1 Rep. Celso Lobregat has asked the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to file appropriate charges and boot out any of its officials and personnel involved in smuggling, instead of the transferring them to another area of assignment.

Lobregat made the suggestion during the senate inquiry on smuggling activities here last Tuesday, following his observation that BoC officials suspected of illegal activities have neither been charged nor dismissed from service, but are merely reshuffled and transferred to another areas.

The Zamboanga solon also shared the observation made by Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food that conducted the smuggling inquiry here, that most of the smuggling apprehensions were made not by the Customs but by other agencies, the Navy in particular.

“Walang nahuhuli ang Customs. Most of the time, the Navy ang nanghuhuli. Na paka-ganda po kasi ang Navy is our natural allay and partner because in the course of their campaign against firearms smuggling they stumble upon smuggled goods. So we can rely on them as our natural allay,” Sen. Villar said.

Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla told Villar’s committee hearing that no charges have been filed yet against BoC-Zamboanga official whose responsibility for the missing smuggled rice and sugar is a subject of an ongoing investigation.

Sevilla admitted that there were lapses in the agency’s handling of the apprehended rice and sugar last month, particularly in the security of the seized vessels and cargoes.

He said the incident and those responsible are under investigation. “Somebody must be held accountable for the lapses, but pending the results of the ongoing investigation,” the BoC official said, adding that the agency is fully committed to putting processes in place like making very clear who within the BoC is responsible and accountable for the security of apprehended contrabands. — Jubels Santos