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Customs faces Ombudsman probe

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by Allan Yves Briones

“Bureau of Customs (BOC), though corruption-ridden managed to collect P585 billion in 2018. Imagine what more could have been collected if the BOC had been clean and less corrupt.”

President Rodrigo had this to say about the BOC, heralded as one of the most corrupt government agencies, in his State of the Nation Address last Monday.

This Wednesday, in the wake of the presidential address, the Office of the Ombudsman has ordered an in-depth investigation into the bureau.

According to a press release sent by the office, this is to probe for “alleged graft and corrupt practices perpetrated by officials and employees” of the bureau which may very well lead to criminal and administrative charges.

“All of them will go out from the premises of the Customs. Period. I do not want them back,” Duterte added during his address, promising a “more drastic and massive” anti-corruption drive in the second half of his six-year term.

Upon the Ombudsman’s order, erring public officials face the penalty of dismissal from public service, perpetual disqualification from holding the same, and forfeiture of retirement benefits, among others.

On July 11, Duterte announced that he has ordered the dismissal of 63 Customs employees over allegations of corruption.

According to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, the BOC remains one of the most corrupt government agencies alongside the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Public Works and Highways. #

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