Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Rody sacks 64 Customs personnel

It’s a simple case of you resign or I file charges

- By Kristina Maralit

Vacate your posts or face charges. This was the warning issued by President Rodrigo Duterte to “erring” personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) following continuing reports of illegal activities within the agency.

“I was reading the dossier from intelligen­ce sources. If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees,” he said in his speech following the signing of the loan agreement between the Philippine government and the Asian Developmen­t Bank for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project in Malacañang.

The President bared he will summon the said erring BoC personnel to the Palace on Monday, 15 July.

“So, I will be asking them to report here. And from the sources that I have commission­ed, just me, I would have cut down corruption by a third or one-half. But most of them, we will be filing charges, 64 of them,” said the President.

“It’s a simple case of you resign or I file charges. And that goes for all of us. We are workers of government and we serve the people, period,” he added.

Mr. Duterte said he already ordered the relief of the 64 personnel effective immediatel­y.

“I told them to report here on Monday. Let me very clear. I will relieve them of their duties as of yet they are not ousted or dismissed because of the right to be heard but I had them removed from their posts to prevent further damage to government interest,” he stated.

The President warned Customs employees who are “players” in illegal activities like smuggling of illegal drugs will “have to go.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive’s mouthpiece, Secretary Salvador Panelo, clarified that BoC chief Rey Guerrero, although burdened with command responsibi­lity, is not among those placed in the “freezer” or about to be kicked out from the agency.

“Oh, definitely, (he’s not included,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing, stressing that the former military general still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President.

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