Official linked to customs corruption appointed to BOC

Pia Ranada
President Rodrigo Duterte appoints Vincent Maronilla as assistant commissioner at the Bureau of Customs despite allegations he accepted grease money from importers

APPOINTEE. Vincent Maronilla has a new role to play in the Duterte administration, with his recent appointment. Photo from DTI-EMB Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vincent Maronilla, Manila International Container Port district collector, to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), despite allegations that he accepts bribes.

According to appointment papers signed on Tuesday, April 3, Maronilla, an alumnus of San Beda like Duterte, is now an assistant commissioner at the BOC.

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Vincent Maronilla, implicated by customs broker Mark Taguba in customs corruption, appointed customs assistant commissioner by <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PresidentDuterte?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PresidentDuterte</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@rapplerdotcom</a> <a href=”https://t.co/GLWIpJgOlM”>pic.twitter.com/GLWIpJgOlM</a></p>&mdash; Pia Ranada (@piaranada) <a href=”https://twitter.com/piaranada/status/981461176608436224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>April 4, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Maronilla was among the Customs officials whom broker Mark Taguba named during a Senate hearing as accepting “tara” or grease money. 

Senator Panfilo Lacson also included Maronilla’s name in his “tara” list – what he claimed to be a carefully vetted and cross-matched list of names of officials who accept bribes from “players”.

Maronilla has denied that his office ever received bribes from anyone or that he asked his staff to accept bribes on his behalf.

Maronilla is now the 3rd person in Lacson’s and Taguba’s list of alleged bribe-takers to be reappointed by Duterte to a new government post.

Before him, Duterte appointed Milo Maestrecampo and Gerardo Gambala to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Maestrecampo, former Bureau of Customs import assessment services director Milo Maestrecampo, is now assistant director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Gambala, former deputy Customs commissioner, is now director of the Office of Transportation Security.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque previously defended their appointment by insisting on their innocence.

“It must be because these two officials were found not to be in any way involved in the P6.4-billion [drug smuggling] scandal,” said Roque back in November 2017.

Lacson and Taguba made public their accusations of corruption amid public outrage over P6.4-billion worth of shabu that found its way into the Philippines from China.

Also implicated in the drug smuggling was former customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, whom Duterte also appointed deputy administrator III of the Office of Civil Defense.

The Department of Justice later on cleared Faeldon of drug smuggling charges but charged Taguba.

Promotion in DILG

Aside from Maronilla, Duterte also signed new appointment papers for Nestor Quinsay Jr.

Quinsay, a former police intelligence chief, is now interior undersecretary. It’s a promotion for him as he had been serving as assistant secretary in the same department, put in charge of the Bureau of Fire Protection

Quinsay takes the place of Jesus Hinlo whom Duterte appointed member of the board of directors of the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank). – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.