Guerrero: Customs men still run show

Newly appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said Wednesday there will be no militarization at the bureau, contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would temporarily take over Customs to stop the corruption there.

Guerrero: Customs men still run show
CHANGE OF COMMAND. Outgoing Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (inset, who has been assigned to head the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) hands over the agency’s flag to newly installed Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero during a turnover ceremony at the Customs head office at the Port Area in Manila on Wednesday. Norman Cruz
In other developments:

• Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday the military takeover of the Bureau of Customs was not something that had been discussed beforehand between him and the President.

“It was just a decision of the President,” Lorenzana told reporters when asked if he had been privy to the order before it was announced by Duterte on Sunday night.

• Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday the military takeover of the Bureau of Customs will solve age-old problems that were not resolved despite a series of reforms imposed to improve the agency’s performance.

“I believe the military will be there to help in the enforcement and adding better controls, lessening or eliminating corruption without affecting the smooth workflow and processing of documents,” Lopez said.

• Malacañang on Wednesday dismissed the calls for the resignation of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III over the alleged corruption in its attached agencies.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace could not find any basis to support the calls for Dominguez’ resignation.

In a turnover ceremony, Guerrero said there would be no reshuffle of Customs personnel yet, and that all would remain in their posts as Customs would continue to hit its collection target for 10 consecutive weeks. 

Duterte earlier said all Customs personnel would be temporarily replaced by military men while sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in the country.

“As I’ve explained, what the President wants is the military personnel from the AFP to assist  Customs and not to militarize it. The officers of the Bureau of Customs will still be in control of the operations and activities of the bureau,” Guerrero said.

He also said Customs personnel would still be responsible for the operations of the bureau.

Guerrero called on the cooperation of all Customs personnel to restore the public trust and confidence in the agency. With Othel V. Campos, and Nat Mariano    

READ: Military takes over Customs​

READ: Duterte admits militarizing government

Topics: Rey Leonardo Guerrero , Rodrigo Duterte , Armed Forces of the Philippines , Delfin Lorenzana , Ramon Lopez
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