MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte vented his ire anew against corrupt officials of the Bureau of Customs in his 4th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22, this time asking Congress help him rid the agency of them.
“All of them will go out from the premises of the Customs. Period. I do not want them back,” Duterte said inside a packed Batasang Pambansa building.
He was looking at the possibility of using legislation to make their positions difficult to hold if they could not be abolished. This comes after he threatened them of administrative charges if they would not resign.
Duterte’s frustration: Speaking before millions of Filipinos, Duterte talked of his frustration that Customs still harbors corrupt officials despite repeated anti-corruption drives.
“Bureau of Customs, the corruption-ridden, managed to collect P585 billion in 2018. How much more could have been collected had the BOC been clean and less corrupt?” Duterte said.
This comes after 2 of Duterte’s previous appointed Customs chiefs – Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña – have failed to clean up the agency. Both of them, in fact, exited the agency amid allegations of mismanagement of Customs.
What help he wants: He said that he met with Customs officials “two weeks ago”. He said 63 are facing criminal charges while 61 others are being probed.
Duterte urged Congress to help him fire corrupt officials, who are protected by security of tenure.
If their positions cannot be abolished by law, Duterte said they could at least make them “report to Congress every day”, which would essentially mean that they are under surveillance. – Rappler.com
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.