July 11, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday 64 personnel of the Bureau of Customs could face charges over alleged corruption in the agency.
In a speech in Malacanang, Duterte said as of the moment, he ordered the relief of the employees involved pending investigation against them.
"I was reading the dossier from all intelligence sources. If I can dismiss them, I will be dismissing something like 64 Customs employees," he said.
But at the moment, he said the employees are not yet fired.
"Let me very clear. I will relieve them of their duties as yet they are not ousted or dismissed because of the right to be heard. But I already ordered their relief from their work to prevent further damage in the government interest," Duterte told reporters in an interview later.
"We will be filing charges, 64 of them. So this early, they might be also learning the - what's going on here, and they are also hearing us. It's a simple case of - you resign or I file charges," Duterte said.
He said he would call the employees allegedly involved in the corruption in a meeting in Malacanang on Monday next week.
"In the meantime that their case(s) are being heard, in obedience of the rule of the right to be heard, I want them to be here in Malacanang. My view is that help me craft a new implementing rules of how not to rob a country properly. So I will be asking them to report here. And from the sources that I have commissioned, that's only mine, I would have cut down corruption by a third or one-half," Duterte said.
Duterte did not specifically say the corruption allegations against the BOC personnel. "This is over the years," he said.
Duterte said it would be up to the Office of the Ombudsman to pursue an investigation and file possible charges against erring employees.
In a press briefing earlier in the day, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero was not among those to be possibly charged. Celerina Monte/DMS
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