2 Bataan Customs collectors fired over alleged fuel smuggling links

Randy V. Datu
2 Bataan Customs collectors fired over alleged fuel smuggling links
The two officers are placed on floating status while the Bureau of Customs conducts a lifestyle check

The alleged proliferation of fuel smuggling in coastal towns of Bataan has forced Customs Commissioner Leonardo Guerrero to fire the two district collectors in the province.

Guerrero’s move was triggered by a letter from a group of concerned citizens of Bataan, alleging that the government had been losing billions of pesos due to the massive fuel smuggling in port areas of Bataan.

Sacked were district collector Guillermo Pedro Francia of Limay port and Tomas Tagra Jr. of Sub-port of Mariveles.

Francia and Tagra were replaced by Gregorio Tomagan, Jr as customs collector of Mariveles port and William Balayo as the new district collector of Limay port. 

The anonymous group of Bataan residents wrote to President Rodrigo Duterte on February 3, alleging that “fuel smuggling operation will severely affect the legitimate and law-abiding players in the fuel industry and deprive the government of billions of pesos in tax losses if left unchecked.”

The group said that fuel smuggling goes on “under the noses” of customs officials and led to a drop in the prices of diesel in many parts of Bataan, Bulacan, and Cavite.

A report by the Tribune said that 7 tankers were allegedly involved in the fuel smuggling. The illegal operation supposedly began during the fourth quarter of 2020 and continued until last January.

Francia and Tagra were placed on floating status while they were being probed.

A lifestyle check was also being recommended against the two for allegedly benefitting from the fuel smuggling. –