Court junks case vs Customs revamp
MANILA, Philippines - In the legal battle between the Bureau of Customs and 13 collectors contesting their transfer to a policy research office, the revenue agency wins for the first time.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said in a statement Monday, October 21, that the Regional Trial Court of Manila City has denied the petition for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction that 13 of the 27 Customs collectors sought.
The collectors wanted the court to stop their transfer to the Customs Policy Research Office under the Department of Finance (DOF).
Manila RTC presiding judge Felicitas Laron-Cacanindin's decision favors the government, which said the personnel movement is part of an ongoing reform meant to address rampant wrongdoings in the Bureau of Customs (BPC).
"We welcome the decision of Manila RTC Branch 17 in denying the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the CPO assigning 27 collector to the Customs Policy Research Office," Biazon said.
"While this issue may have been cause a temporary set back in the reform efforts of the DOF and BOC, it has also shown that the initiatives can withstand legal challenges," the customs chief added.
President Benigno Aquino III himself supported the personnel revamp in the Customs, citing the need for a "reset" in the graft-ridden bureau.
Customs is the second biggest source of government revenues, but it has been missing its collections target.
The Customs collectors had told the court that their transfer is illegal since it would be considered a demotion and violates their right to security of tenure.
Biazon, who was among the case respondents, had denied these allegations.
Out of the 27 customs collectors covered by the order, only 15 questioned it before the court in September. Of the 15, one has resigned while another withdrew from the petition and decided to report to the the policy research office already. The rest complied with the order.
The defiant Customs collectors won the previous rounds, with the Manila court promptly issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the Customs from implementing the revamp. (READ: Court extends TRO on Customs employees' transfer)
Citing the court's 4-page decision, Biazon said in the statement that the "petitioners’ argument that their rights as tenured civil servants were violated was doubtful and that there was no clear damage done to them with their transfer" to the new office. - Rappler.com
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