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Guerrero blamed for BOC failings

Two legislators said Thursday Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero should be held accountable for his failure to stop the corruption in the agency.

In separate interviews, Reps. Joy Tambunting of Parañaque City and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela said Guerrero should be held accountable under the principle of command responsibility.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday met with the 40 Customs employees who were relieved due to their alleged involvement in corrupt activities.

Photos sent to Palace reporters showed Duterte with the Customs employees along with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.

A reliable source, who asked he not be named due to his lack of authority to speak on the matter, told Manila Standard the meeting started at 6 p.m.

Duterte previously aired his frustration with the bureau over allegations of corruption, and said that he will ask them to get rid of water lilies in Pasig River. 

The President also said that he relieved an entire administrative section of Customs.

The Palace has yet to release details on what transpired during the meeting and the names of Customs employees who were asked to report on the Palace.

Tambunting said Guerrero must face the accountability issue being the head of the agency, and after President Duterte made public his continuing displeasure and announced he would remove the employees of Customs’ administrative section over corruption.

“The BoC is an agency known for corruption. The government must take decisive action in rooting out corruption in this agency. Command responsibility should be observed, Tambunting said.

Brosas shared her view, saying Guerrero should be liable for the alleged corruption under his watch.

 “We all know that corruption is deeply ingrained in many of the agencies in government, especially in the BoC.”

Brosas said corrupt Customs personnel should be charged and prosecuted to ensure the success of the government’s anti-corruption drive. 

“Those who commit crimes against the people, particularly corrupt government functionaries, should be made to account for their misdeeds and punished,’’ Brosas said.

Brent De Jesus, spokesman of the non-profit group Transparency in Public Service, earlier urged Guerrero to submit his courtesy resignation, invoking the principle of command responsibility.

Guerrero fired his own Chief of Staff Teodoro Jumamil, who got the boot due to allegations of corruption.

Customs assistant commissioner Jet Maronilla said the agency was ready to replace the 64 employees who would be fired by Duterte on corruption allegations. With MJ Blancaflor

Topics: Rey Guerrero , Joy Tambunting , Salvador Medialdea , Salvador Panelo , Rodrigo Duterte , Bureau of Customs
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