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64 Customs men lined up for ouster

President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he “will be dismissing” 64 Customs employees allegedly involved in corrupt activities.

He said he had asked those employees to report to his office on Monday “in obedience to the rule of the right to be heard.”

“I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees. In the meantime that their case are being heard, in obedience of the rule of the right to be heard, I want them to be here in Malacañang,” Duterte said.

“My view is that help me craft new implementing rules of how not to rob a country properly, so I will be asking them to report here.”

President Duterte asked them to resign or he would file charges against them.

“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,” Duterte said.

READ: BOC reshuffles collectors for failure to meet target

Earlier, Duterte aired his frustration with the agency and warned he would fire Customs officials amid the widespread corruption in the agency.

“There’s four. In this week, it’s Customs. I’ll fire them all. They said we cannot get rid of corruption. Let’s see,” Duterte said in his speech on Monday during the oathtaking of newly appointed officials.

Duterte said he wanted to cut down the corruption in the bureau by a third or one-half.

In a statement Wednesday night, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had also ordered the freezing of high-ranking officials and employees in the bureau as they faced charges.

He said the names of those officials and employees would be “disclosed at the appropriate time.”

Asked on what prompted the President to fire several employees, Panelo said: “From what I know, somebody told Guerrero. And he investigated it. There are many anomalies involving certain officials.”  

Panelo referred to Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who still enjoys the trust and confidence of Duterte.

READ: BOC retools to purge its ranks

Duterte’s latest action underscored his administration’s zero tolerance on corruption among erring officials, Panelo said in a statement.

“We continue to dismantle corruption in the bureaucracy and rid it of corrupt officials and employees,” Panelo said.

“The anti-corruption campaign is continuing as it is relentless. No one will be spared.”

In October 2018, Duterte said he would order military men to take over Customs to address the corruption there.

The Palace then said the rampant corruption in Customs could be considered a form of “lawless violence.”

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Bureau of Customs , ouster , Salvador Panelo , Rey Leonardo Guerrero
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