Gordon tells Customs chief: Fire your officials, they’re ‘incompetent’

Rambo Talabong
Gordon tells Customs chief: Fire your officials, they’re ‘incompetent’
'Incompetent ang mga tao mo, palitan mo 'yan. Mapapahamak ka,' Senator Richard Gordon says to Bureau of Customs chief Isidro Lapeña

MANILA, Philippines – After presiding over the third hearing into the missing P6.8-billion shabu (methamphetamine) which allegedly slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) screening, Senator Richard Gordon advised its chief Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to sack his “incompetent” officials.

Before the hearing ended on Wednesday, October 10, Gordon asked Lapeña to address the “seeming incompetence” of personnel in the BOC after they struggled to answer Gordon’s questions on how the shabu, believed to be packed inside magnetic lifters, circumvented their intelligence service and X-rays.

Incompetent ang mga tao mo, palitan mo ‘yan. Mapapahamak ka (Your people are incompetent, replace them. They’ll put you in trouble),” Gordon said when asked to clarify about his message in an ambush interview with reporters.

Gordon added that when he spoke with Lapeña after the hearing, the Commissioner already agreed to relieve some of his personnel.

Which officials? Gordon only mentioned “‘yung X-ray (the one from the X-ray)” as deserving to be replaced.

Gordon did not specify who, but so far, 3 Customs personnel from their X-ray division have testified in the probe: X-ray chief Zsae de Guzman, and longtime operators Manuel Noli Martinez and John Mar Morales. (READ: Empty or shabu-packed? X-ray scans of magnetic lifters revealed)

Gordon also suggested that Lapeña reconsider assigning only people close to him into key posts. When Lapeña came to the BOC, he brought in the same people he worked with in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

“You know what? That’s the problem when you bring your own guys to a new position, to your new post. You have to watch over them because they enjoy familiarity with you,” Gordon told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.