President Rodrigo Duterte signed the appointment papers of three new deputy commissioners to the Bureau of Custom, one of them a former port district collector who was fired by former Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña over the alleged smuggling of illegal drugs inside magnetic lifters worth billions of pesos.
READ: Customs reshuffles key officials
The new Customs deputy commissioners were Raniel Ramiro, Vener Sia Baquiran and Donato Belmonte San Juan whose appointments were signed March 6, 2019, according to the Palace.
Their appointment completes the leadership rung with Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero assisted by six deputy commissioners and an assistant commissioner, who supervises the Internal Administration Group, Revenue Collection Monitoring Group, Assessment and Operations Coordination Group, Intelligence Group, Enforcement Group, Management Information System and Technology Group and Post Clearance Audit Group.
Earlier reports said one of the new deputy commissioners, Baquiran, was former Manila International Container Port district collector, linked to the smuggling of shabu in 2018 which was discovered inside magnetic lifters.
Baquiran was also charged by the National Bureau of Investigation for violation of
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, dereliction of duty and administrative complaints.
The charges stemmed from Baquiran’s failure to file charges against the consignees, importers, and brokers of the drug-tainted magnetic lifters that slipped past Customs.
President Duterte also replaced Lapeña and 50 others over alleged drugs in magnetic lifters.
Prior to their recent appointment, former Brig. Gen. Ramiro served as the acting head of the Customs' Intelligence Group, while San Juan was the deputy commissioner for the Customs' Internal Administration Group.
San Juan was a retired lieutenant general who headed the Philippine Military Academy before his stint at the BOC.
Meanwhile, President Duterte described the Food and Drug Administration as a gold mine for corruption that led to the sacking of former Food and Drug Administration director-general Nela Charade Puno.
Malacañang last week announced Puno’s termination, citing the President's "continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption" as grounds for her removal.
In defending his decision to remove Puno from her post, Duterte said that he would not tolerate corruption in his government, even if officials in question were his friends.
The ex-FDA director is the wife of former Road Board executive director Rodolfo “Dody” Puno.
The President criticized the Punos for being wise when they offered him some help in the past.
Duterte admitted he was not aware that the DFA was a gold mine for corruption.
Duterte said he received numerous complaints against Puno and wasted no time in making the decision to dismiss the FDA chief.
Puno's dismissal from her post was "in line with the President’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption, and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust, according to the Palace.
READ: Solons reject assigning soldiers to Customs
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