MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night revealed the names of officials and personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) who were dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for various offenses, such as neglect of duty and grave misconduct.
“Allow me a few minutes to do what I have promised to the people, that every meeting dito sa pag-uusap natin sa taong-bayan (here in my address to the nation) that I will read the persons who are now, under quasi-judicial scrutiny,” Duterte said.
On the list were customs deputy collector Ramon Hernandez, operation officers Lomonto Macabando and Vicente Gamboa, special police assistant chief Jaybee Raul Cometa, and security guard Renly Tiñana.
He also mentioned Zamboanga City district collector Lyceo Martinez, Customs police district commander Filomeno Salazar, and Customs personnel Agnes Fabian, Gil Gamil, Allan Pagkalinawan, Vicente Torres, and Aristotle Tumala.
Duterte earlier ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate corruption allegations “in the entire government”.
The BOC is included in the top five agencies that the DOJ-led inter-agency task force would prioritize in its investigation into corruption. Also on the list are the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).
DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said the probe will look into “amounts involved (in the agency to be investigated), the rank of the persons involved, and the impact on the delivery of services to the public”.
A minimum threshold of PHP1 billion in public funds involved will be one of the parameters, Villar said.
She added that while no particular transaction has been identified, the investigations would also include anomalous government procurement as well as transactions entered into by government agencies with private entities.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said President Duterte’s orders for his agency to go after perpetrators of corruption in government will mean twin goals — prosecuting offenders and preventing corruption in the bureaucracy.
Guevarra clarified that the DOJ’s findings on its graft investigations are not merely recommendatory but the initiation of criminal charges. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA – northboundasia.com