Malacañang defends reappointment of customs officials tagged as corrupt

BACK IN BOC. Deputy Commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno (second from left, in blue) looks through seized shabu with other customs officials.

File photo by Ted Aljibe / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The reappointment of two Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials accused of accepting bribes likely means they are innocent of the allegations, said Malacañang on Thursday, November 23.

The other day, Malacañang released the appointment papers of Ariel Nepomuceno and Teddy Raval as customs deputy commissioners.

Both are included in Senator Panfilo Lacson's list of customs executives who supposedly take bribes.

Nepomuceno resigned last August, after his superior, former BOC chief Nicanor Faeldon, and BOC intelligence chief Neil Anthony Estrella quit.

Their appointment, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, means it's likely they have been found by Duterte as innocent of the allegations.

"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 during a Malacañang press briefing.

The controversy, he said, has gone through a comprehensive enough investigation to clear the two in the eyes, at least, of the President.

"It must be because there has been thorough investigation conducted by the House, the Senate, the DOJ and even from within the Palace," said Roque.

Earlier in November, Duterte brought back to government service two other customs officials accused of abuse of power.

Milo Maestrecampo, accused during Congressional hearings of receiving bribes from drug smugglers, was appointed assistant director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Gerardo Gambala, also included in Senator  Lacson's list of supposedly corrupt officials, was appointed director of the Office of Transportation Security. This makes them both employees under the Department of Transportation.

Aside from Nepomuceno's and Raval's appointments, Malacañang also released the appointment papers of two more new customs deputy commissioners: Ricardo Calimlim Quinto and Gladys Fua Rosales. –

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