Duterte may fire 50 to 70 in Customs over corruption

MANILA — Not just four, but around 50 to 70 officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) may face dismissal over corruption allegations, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared this after President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night ordered the “freezing” of Customs officials and employees but did not disclose their names.

Panelo explained that placing the personnel in “freezer” meant that they will be placed on “floating” status pending administrative and criminal charges.

Clarifying what the President meant by “dark times ahead” in a recent speech, Panelo said aside from terrorism and illegal drugs, the chief executive was also referring to widespread corruption particularly in the BOC.

“Talaga namang maraming (There really are) dark times ahead, nandiyan yung terorismo, nandiyan yung war on drugs, nandiyan yung corruption — kita mo yung sa Customs o biglang ubod ng dami (there’s terrorism, there’s the war on drugs, there’s corruption — you see in Customs there’s suddenly so many),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“From what I gather, mga 72 yata tatanggalin niya (around 72 could be facing dismissal) or are facing administrative charges. Ganun karami either 72 or 62, di ko na malaman exact number (That’s how big, either 72 or 62 I don’t know the exact number). “Mahigit (over) 50. Less than 100. Ganun karami ang involved sa corruption (That’s how many are involved in corruption),” he added.

Panelo said a source may have tipped BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo “Jagger” Guerrero about personnel involved in corruption and called for a probe.

“Ang pagkakaalam ko may nagsumbong kay Commissioner Guerrero at inimbistagahan niya. Maraming anomalya involving certain officials (What I know is there is someone who tipped Commissioner Guerrero and he conducted an investigation. There is a lot of anomaly involving certain officials),” Panelo said.

He reiterated that Guerrero still enjoys the President’s trust and confidence. (PNA)

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