Postal employee now denies theft

By David Dizon,

Posted at Sep 08 2011 10:28 AM | Updated as of Sep 08 2011 09:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - An employee of the Philippine Postal Corporation is now denying that she took money from a parcel at the government's Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City despite CCTV footage that recorded the theft.

Postmaster General Josie dela Cruz said Postman 1 Lovelyn de Leon is now denying stealing any money from a parcel that she opened last Friday.

"Kinakaila na niya, ayaw na niyang aminin ang theft. Sinasabi niya kailangan niya ng abogado. Inamin niya na pera nung una pero hindi sa presence ng isang abogado so hindi siya naisulat para maging formal statement. Ngayon dine-deny na niya," dela Cruz told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."

CCTV footage taken at the CMEC office last Friday showed de Leon opening a package that contained a cellphone. She then opened the back of the cellphone and a man, identified as Customs Examiner Omar Said, retrieved an envelope from the back of the phone.

Dela Cruz said the owner of the package revealed that the envelope contained 100 Euros.

Atty. Romulo Mahor, CMEC special deputy collector, said the Customs examiner had admitted taking the 100 Euros from the parcel.

However, he also said the opening of the parcel by the Philpost employee and the Customs examiner is allowed especially for packages to be sent to provinces where there is no assigned Customs personnel.

This was denied by the Postmaster General who said the Postal Code of Procedures clearly states that any opening of a parcel should be done in the presence of the addressee or recipient of the package.

The postal employee involved in the alleged theft has been suspended pending an investigation while the Customs examiner has been relieved of his position.

Culture of corruption

Dela Cruz, meanwhile, said she is shocked by the prevailing culture of corruption inside the  Philippine Postal Corporation.

She said Philpost receives numerous complaints on money and other items missing from the mail. An earlier report said Philpost loses P1 million every week due to pilferage of parcels and the alleged illegal imposition of Customs taxes.

She said that on the day of the alleged pilferage, at least 3 complaints were filed against Philpost employees including a postman who lost a P660,000 cheque in the mail.

She said the discovery of the pilferage done by de Leon and Said showed that Customs and Philpost employees are working together to perpetrate theft.

"Tiyak na magkakakutsaba. There are no dividers here, no cubicles. It's like a culture. They were taking their sweet time, OK lang na may nakakita," she said.

Dela Cruz also lamented that 9 out of 10 parcels coming through CMEC are reportedly stamped with “subject to Customs” and placed on hold. She said the Philpost is unable to use four of its express mail service (EMS) delivery vans, which have been used to hold more of the items seized by the Bureau of Customs.  With a report from the Philippine Star