BUREAU of Customs (BoC) commissioner, Rey Leonardo ‘Jagger’ Guerrero, reminded all bureau officials and employees to remain “loyal” to their oath as public servants or face the consequences of their “defiance” in his effort to institute the long-needed reforms in the agency.
In a message right after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth ‘State of the Nation Address’ (SONA) last July 22, Guerrero took note of the Chief Executive’s observation that the BoC could have contributed more to the national tax collection effort “had the BoC been cleaned of graft and (of) corrupt officials.”
“Once again I remind all personnel to remain faithful to our oath as public servants.
“The accomplishments that we have achieved in the 9 months that I have been your commissioner cannot be sustained if graft and corruption continue in our agency.
During his SONA, Pres. Duterte restrained himself from fully praising the bureau’s revenue accomplishment in 2018, the biggest cash collection in its entire history.
“The Bureau of Customs, though corruption-ridden, managed to collect Five Hundred Eighty Five Billion Pesos in 2018.
“Imagine how much more could have been collected had the BoC been clean and less corrupt,” Pres. Duterte stressed.
In his message to the bureau, Guerrero reminded that he has been “consistent” in his campaign against graft and corruption in the bureau, which continues to carry the reputation as among the “most corrupt” agencies of the government.
“Men and women of BoC, I have been consistent in my policy against graft and corruption since Day One of my term as commissioner.
“I have never been remiss in reminding BoC personnel to shun corruption, live simple lives, follow rules and to conduct themselves with utmost propriety and integrity.
“I have even initiated reforms in our systems to improve efficiency, promote transparency and remove opportunities to commit graft,” Guerrero pointed out.
“Unfortunately, many chose to ignore such reforms and defy my instructions and they are now facing the consequences of their actions,” he also reminded them.
Several days before the SONA, more than 50 customs personnel were summoned to the Palace for a dialogue with the President where they were told that appropriate charges against them would be filed before the Ombudsman for corruption.
Prior to this, this paper also learned that at least 4 ranking customs officials were also summoned to Malacañang where they were reportedly given a dressing down by the Chief Executive.
All of those summoned to Malacañang,sources said, have already been relieved and placed on ‘floating status.’
“The fight to rid the BoC of corrupt officials continues with more vigor and intensity, and I assure you that those who will be found to be involved in graft and corruption will be made to account for their actions,” Guerrero said.
“Gaya ng sinabi ko noong una akong humarap sa inyo (October 2018), dalawa lang ang puwede nating patunguhan sa pamamalakad ko sa BoC.
“Magsama tayo o maghiwalay tayo. At kung maghihiwalay man tayo ay maghiwalay tayo ng maayos.
“Mag-resign o mag-retire na lang kayo kung hindi niyo kayang talikuran ang korap na pamumuhay,” the customs chief said.