Duterte transfers Customs execs accused of corruption to DOTr

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte transferred two former Customs officials accused of corruption and conspiring with drug smugglers to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

According to papers released on Friday, November 10, former Bureau of Customs Import Assessment Services Director Milo Maestrecampo was appointed assistant director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), an agency under the DOTr.

Former Deputy Customs Commissioner Gerardo Gambala, meanwhile, was appointed director of the Office of Transportation Security under the DOTr.

Both Maestrecampo and Gambala resigned from their Customs posts after congressional hearings on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu. (READ: TIMELINE: How P6.4-B worth of shabu was smuggled into PH from China)

Customs broker Mark Taguba named Maestrecampo during a House hearing as among customs officials who received bribes from drug smugglers. Senator Panfilo Lacson accused Gambala of being among the BOC's corrupt officials.

A month later, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency filed a complaint before the Department of Justice, accusing former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, Maestrecampo, and 10 others of conspiring to import illegal drugs and protecting drug traffickers.

Maestrecampo's and Gambala's new appointments show that, despite the allegations, Duterte still has trust and confidence in them.

The two were among the former Oakwood mutineers Faeldon brought along with him to the Bureau of Customs.

Duterte had previously thanked Faeldon and some of the mutineers for supporting his presidential bid early on. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.