Ombudsman probes 119 BOC employees for various anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019   •   1291

The Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating 119 Bureau of Customs (BOC) employees due to various anomalies.

These employees are currently in floating status, according to BOC Commissioner Leonardo Guerrero.

“Ang instruction kasi ni President (The instruction of the president) is for them not to hold any position or office. So in the meantime, we have to account for them and the only way to account for them is to make sure we implement organizational mechanism that would make sure that they report daily for us to be able to know where they are in case they will be summoned for investigation,” he said.

Twenty-seven BOC employees were given a show cause order for their alleged involvement in corruption while the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of seven BOC executives.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved the dismissal of deputy collector for operations of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) Ramon Hernandez; Customs Operations Officer Lomonto Macabando; Customs Officers III Vanzandt Remonde and Vicente Gamboa; Customs Special Police assistant chief Jaybee Raul Cometa; BOC-Zamboanga Special Agent Oscar Farin and Customs security guard Renly Tiñana.

The administrative offenses committed by the officials include grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

One employee, meanwhile, was suspended due to gross insubordination.

Guerrero also admits the ‘Tara System’ in BOC still exists. He also said he still receives offers from various individuals.

“Ilang beses ko pa ba sasabihin na ako hindi ako tumatanggap, hindi ako tatanggap at never akong tumanggap (How many times do I have to tell you, I do not accept [bribes], have not accepted [bribes], and will never accept [bribes]),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

4 kilograms of shark teeth seized in Mactan, Cebu

Marje Pelayo   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported the seizure of a parcel containing 4.98 kilograms of extracted shark teeth misdeclared as plastic components for fashion accessories.

The shipment, which was seized in BOC Cebu-Subport of Mactan on Tuesday (August 31), was discovered through x-ray imaging which prompted the X-Ray inspection project team (XIP) to mark it for further verification.

Accordingly, BOC authorities conducted a physical examination on the parcel together with representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and DHL Express Cebu.

The BFAR representative confirmed the contents of the parcel to be shark teeth and not plastic components as declared and records show the shipment had no import permit issued by BFAR.

Acting District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza immediately issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment.

The seized articles will be disposed of in accordance with existing customs laws and regulations after undergoing seizure and forfeiture proceedings.

Unmanifested container of mechanically separated chicken seized at Port of Cebu

Marje Pelayo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported the seizure of a container of unmanifested goods that included uncooked mechanically separated chicken.

The shipment, which was identified to have originated from China, was intercepted at the Port of Cebu last Tuesday (August 24).

The container was flagged down after noting its exclusion from the vessel’s inward foreign manifest and stowage plan.

Also, the vessel failed to file a supplemental manifest within two days from the date of discharge of the last package as required by Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 15-2020.

The Port of Cebu initially issued a show cause order against the shipping line to which the latter replied explaining that the unmanifested container was intended to be loaded into a different vessel going to Cebu.

Due to a system glitch in the operational activities of the vessel, the container was inadvertently loaded and discharged at the Port of Cebu.

Acting district collector Charlito Martin Mendoza issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment after finding probable cause for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The container was immediately subjected to physical examination to determine its contents and was found to contain uncooked mechanically separated chicken.

The seized goods will undergo seizure and forfeiture proceedings and will thereafter be disposed of in accordance with prevailing customs laws and regulations.

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