MANILA – A Bureau of Customs employee and his alleged cohort were arrested for alleged extortion.
The bureau said the Philippine National Police arrested Freddie Castro Ruba, an employee assigned at the office of North Habor Port Collector Rene Agulan. Also arrested was Rafael Reyes Sevilla, a casual worker at the North Harbor.
Ruba is accused of attempting to extort P15,000 from businessman Rodencio Brillantes in exchange for the release of the latter's shipment - a 20-foot container van of noodles from Cebu.
Rodencio did not give in to Ruba's alleged demand and instead told Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa about the extortion attempt.
Ruba is also facing administrative charges for violating the bureau's code of conduct for employees and policies governing civil servants.
"Let this be a warning to all that we are serious about campaign against corrupt officials. Minsan ko nang nabanggit na maski ang pisong tara ay pagnanakaw sa taumbayan. We want to reverse the chronic corruption in the Bureau and hold our own people accountable for their actions," Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla said.
The bureau said at least 82 of its employees are currently under investigation for alleged collusion with smugglers.
In an effort to curb corruption among its employees, the bureau said it has embarked on a massive reform program which involves the computerization of transactions in order to detect fraud and misconduct, a review of processes to eliminate discretionary decisions, and the creation of clear guidelines for transactions and valuation disputes.