President Rodrigo Duterte prodded “corrupt” officials and personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to leave or they will “lose everything.”
In his speech during the 118th Police Service anniversary celebration at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Duterte vented his ire again on 64 corrupt officials and personnel of the BoC.
“Sa (In) Customs, they will lose 64 of them. They have been there for 39 years. I am sorry, (but) you’re there on the list of corrupt. You have so many cases there,” the President said.
“You better go or I will pursue the case criminally. You will not only lose your pants, but you will lose everything,” he added.
Last month, the president announced plans to dismiss 64 Customs officials and employees for alleged corruption. He summoned them to Malacanang, telling them that corruption has no place under his administration.
“The president has been forthright in telling these Customs officials and employees that corruption has no place under his watch. He told them that, consistent with due process, they will be given their day in court,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said. “Let this serve as a reminder to all those officials or employees in the government that they cannot escape liability or accountability for their acts of corruption under the Duterte administration,” he added.
In his State of the Nation Address in July, the President expressed his frustration over corruption and vowed to use the remaining three years of his term to curb it.
“Corruption continues and emasculates the courage we need to sustain our moral recovery initiatives. No amount of euphemism can trivialise or normalise betrayal of public trust or any other criminal offence. It is an injury laced with insult. It is both a national embarrassment and a national shame,” Duterte said.
He said corrupt Customs employees would report to Congress every day since he could not simply fire them due to security of tenure. “If we cannot abolish their position and if I cannot dismiss them for the reason that there is a security of tenure, I will just allow them to have their positions, but they have to report to Congress every day to help me in the huge paperwork that we have to do every day,” he said.
“All of them will go out from the premises of the Customs area. I do not want them back,” he added. The president said the BoC could have collected more than the P585bn it posted in 2018 if its employees were less corrupt. The Office of the Ombudsman had ordered an “in-depth” investigation into allegations of corruption in the Customs bureau.
The Ombudsman may order the preventive suspension of any Customs official and employee while conducting the investigation. If proven guilty, they will be dismissed from service and perpetually disqualified from holding public office. They will also be barred from receiving retirement benefits.
“If warranted, the Ombudsman may order the suspension or dismissal from the service of erring public officials found administratively liable for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty or conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service,” the Ombudsman said.