Customs cleanup

"Is there hope for the bureau?"



The scoundrels at the graft-ridden Bureau of Customs put President Rodrigo Duterte in a position where he had to act with draconian measure. They made a mockery of the President’s relentless and ruthless war on illegal drugs by allowing a P6.8-billion shabu shipment to slip through the BoC X-ray scanners.

For their criminal negligence if not outright connivance in the smuggling of shabu, President Rodrigo Duterte did the right thing. He sacked all Bureau of Customs officials, including Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña whom the President himself appointed. All other BOC personnel were placed on floating status. Duterte named Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero to replace Lapena.

But why only transfer Lapeña to the head of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority? This is a key government agency whose head has a Cabinet rank.

No wonder Lapeña said his new position is a promotion. Dealing with erring government personnel this way is taken for granted by grafters and encourage them to commit more malfeasances..

Lourdes Mangaoang who exposed the smuggled shabu shipment despite threats to her life and harassment from higher-ups, stood her ground that the four imported magnetic lifters contained illegal drugs when they went through the BOC’s X-ray machines. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency which supported Mangaoang’s claim estimates the smuggled shipment to be higher at P11-billion worth.

The smuggled shabu shipment was missing when the magnetic filters were found abandoned in Cavite, The price of shabu has gone down considerably according to PDEA apparently because the smuggled shipment has been released and has now flooded the market.

Mangaoang was vindicated by the President’s action on Lapena et al but she did not even get a letter or a statement of commendation from Malacanang.

Yet, the personal attacks on Mangaoang continue at Customs. Those whose big money racket at BOC blame her for their loss of ill-gotten wealth. Some of them even sent anonymous letters to media about her lifestyle including a fabulous house and at least three high-end cars.

Ms. Mangaoang, however, is taking all this in stride. She knows this is the price she has to pay for exposing the crooks at the bureau.

With a new commissioner, is there hope for a real clean-up at Customs, notoriously known as the flagship of corruption in government?


What kind of people are these Kuwaitis? Just because their country is endowed with oil, Kuwaitis think they can do anything to people who need work.

Manila lifted the ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers after Kuwait signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine government guaranteeing the welfare and protection of our OFWs. Manila ordered the suspension on OFW deployment when a Filipina domestic was found dead in a freezer in the basement of her employers’ rented apartment.

To be fair, the assailants were not Kuwaiti citizens but a Lebanese and his Syrian wife who were apprehended after they fled to their respective countries.

But in this latest act of cruelty, Kuwaiti employers locked up a Filipino housemaid in her room without giving her food for two days. Friends of the Filipino domestic informed the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait forcing her employers to release her. She also received one month pay out of a three-month salary arrear owed her. She also had to pay her own plane fare for the return trip home contrary to the stipulation of her contract.

For this act of inhumanity, the Philippine government should rescind the MOU and ban again the sending of OFWs to Kuwait. Let the Kuwaitis do their own domestic work of scrubbing floors, cleaning their filthy toilets and taking care of their own children. Filipino men working as engineers and technicians in Kuwait’s oil fields should also be withdrawn. Some will say this is a measure too harsh since it will affect the economic life of their dependents back home. But would they rather have their loved ones who work in Kuwait come home in a coffin or body bag?

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Customs cleanup , Bureau of Customs , Isidro Lapeña
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