Sunday, November 07, 2004


Senator Richard Gordon condemned the officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for not having any official watchlist of top smugglers in the midst of investigations on alleged smuggling activities in Subic, Clark and other crucial exit points in the country. During the Senate investigative hearing today of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, BOC Commissioner George Jereos admitted, through Gordon's prodding, that they do not have an order of battle against smugglers explaining that the bureau's head of intelligence has just resigned from his post two weeks ago, hence, they cannot produce the said information being asked. Gordon criticized the bureau officials' dereliction of responsibility, adding that they should be properly charged legally. “If there is no list, then you are all in neglect of duty, so gross that all of you are liable for the anti-graft and corrupt practice act because you are not doing your duty,” Gordon told the officials.
At an earlier forum with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reported strides under her administration against smuggling saying that the BOC and the law enforcement agencies such as the PNP and the AFP as well as the Coast Guard have an order of battle against an identified list of 200 smugglers. “I am flabbergasted that the BOC do not have the records and listings concerning the smuggling in the country,” Gordon said adding that “we are talking here not just of smuggling of cigars and liquors but also of vegetables, ‘ukay-ukay' merchandise, cellphones, drugs, and vehicles. There have been individuals convicted because of drugs but nobody has ever been jailed because of smuggling. It is time that we nail them.”
Gordon asked committee chairman Senator Mar Roxas to “subpoena the BOC of all the records including a watchlist of all the people involved in smuggling in Subic, Clark and other sensitive areas in the country” so that they will be able to identify who are involved and immediately take necessary actions against them. He also presented a partial listing of cigars and cigarettes brought in through Subic and Clark from 2001 to 2003. The records showed that 15 billion pesos worth of cigarettes and liquor have been brought in to Subic and Clark without any documentation on where they went

No comments: