Customs stakeholders on Wednesday sought the help of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero against an officer allegedly engaged in illegal practices and putting the entire agency in a bad light.
Guerrero, with the support of his deputy commissioners, initiated reforms in the agency to improve efficiency, promote transparency and remove opportunities to commit graft.
But stakeholders are complaining that corruption and other irregularities continue unabated in the bureau.
They cited a Customs police officer who allegedly asked P100,000 each from importers and brokers as a welcome gift because of his claims he would be the next head of one of the units tasked to go after suspected smugglers.
Customs insiders said the police officer, known in the bureau as “De Kuko”, asked his “patrons” in the bureau to transfer him from his assignment and to become the head of the department he wanted.
In exchange for their support, the police official promised them he could deliver huge amounts of money from importers and brokers.
“He is the termite that rots the BoC,” one of the stakeholders said.
Top bureau officials had previously placed the police officer on a floating status after receiving complaints about his illegal activities.
But since the start of December last year, the officer had been making the rounds again, claiming that he would become the next chief of a juicy post in the bureau.
The officer also boasted he was a well-trained employee and fearless, so nobody could stop him from getting the position he wanted.
Guerrero had earlier assured the fight against corrupt Customs officials would continue with more vigor and intensity, and those found to be involved would be made accountable.
Government agents recently arrested a man for allegedly asking a Customs broker for P1 million as “pasalubong” [welcome gift] reportedly for the next Customs commissioner.
National Bureau of Investigation spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said the suspect, Louie Miranda, was arrested by agents of the NBI’s Special Action Unit in an entrapment in Quezon City, where he was caught receiving marked money from a complainant.
The suspect allegedly dropped the name of a police official who would be assuming the chief customs position and made representations thereon with some brokers demanding P1 million from each broker.