By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles has warned Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero that he can be held liable for various criminal and administrative charges if he continues to insist on implementing the Bureau’s National Valuation Verification System (NVVS).
Nograles, representative of PBA Party-list group, said Guerrero may be charged for graft and corruption, and for violation of the Code of Conduct of Government Employees as the Bureau of Customs’ NVVS has been deemed illegal by the House Committee on Way and Means.
Nograles noted that the panel chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has written twice on December 9 and 20, 2019 to Guerrero advising him to cease and desist the implementation of the NVVS but he and his office chose to ignore the letters. He said the deliberate ignorance and inaction “violate of the Code of Conduct of Government Employees and could merit immediate investigation by the Civil Service Commission.”
“The insistence of continued implementation of the NVVS allows for graft and corruption,” he said.
He stressed that any further inaction “may force Congress to either hold the Bureau in contempt of Congress and the filing of necessary charges in the Ombudsman for graft and corruption.”
Salceda’s panel earlier found out that that the NVVS is illegal as it is not found in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The ways and means committee then advised the Guerrero to cease and desist in implementing the NVVS which allowed for the unequal levying of same goods in multiple instances.
“The evidence clearly shows that the same commodities charged differently. The inconsistencies only mean that there is corruption in the NVVS system,” said Nograles
Nograles said despite the committee’s findings, Guerrero “continues to implement it on the false pretext that it is only used as reference and not a replacement of the transaction value of imported goods.”
“Mukhang merong pinapaboran at pinoprotektahan. Pagkatapos ng Green Lanes ng previous Commissioner, ang panibagong diskarte ay ang NVVS. This NVVS is a tool for extortion for some corrupt Customs people,” he added.