Palace on BOC privatization proposal: ‘Let see pros and cons’

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday said it would weigh the “pros and cons” of Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s proposal to privatize some functions of corruption-laden Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“Well, Senator Sotto thinks it’s a good idea and that’s the function of Congress to introduce bills into law, make it into laws. Let’s see the pros and cons of that idea,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.

Sotto mulled to push for privatization of the BOC after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed another retired military official to cleanse the agency of corrupt personnel.

Last week, Duterte named former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Ray Leonardo “Jagger” Guerrero to replace Isidro Lapeña amid probe on alleged PHP6.8 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the Customs.

Guerrero was the third BOC chief under Duterte administration. The first was former military officer Nicanor Faeldon.

Sotto, however, said he would first wait for Guerrero’s implementation of Duterte’s marching order to rid BOC of corruption, an attached bureau of the Department of Finance (DOF).

Panelo said Duterte has yet to make comment on Sotto’s proposal.

“There will be a Cabinet meeting tonight (Tuesday). Hopefully, I’ll hear something about it and we’ll report to you,” he said.

Meanwhile, Panelo said Guerrero is on top of the situation and “will undertake all measures geared towards the elimination of corruption in the bureau”.

He said the new BOC chief is also expected to maintain the high revenue collections registered under Lapeña’s stewardship.

Lapeña has been promoted to Cabinet rank to head Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

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