Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday reprimanded the Bureau of Customs for designating more military appointees than career officials for key positions in the agency.
"Under the new law, hindi ba dapat ang majority ng ia-appoint na deputy commissioner ay career? Ang totoo niyan mas marami iyong nilagay niya na hindi career," Gordon said during the Senate's probe on the entry of P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs.
Gordon said probes into the lapses committed by the BOC have been hampered, as officials tend to favor fraternity brothers or fellows from the Philippine Military Academy linked to questionable proceedings.
Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, who used to be allied with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, was part of a group of junior officers who led the Oakwood mutiny at the Makati Business District on July 27, 2003, during the Arroyo administration.
Among those who accompanied Faeldon in the mutiny were army captains Gerardo Gambala and Milo Maestrecampo — men who were also appointed to top posts at the BOC.
"Diyan tayo pumapalpak. May magka-mistah, may magka-brod. Sa ganyan din kaya tayo nadale sa (Bureau of) Immigration," Gordon said, referring to two ranking immigration officials who figured in a P50-million bribe controversy involving gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
Customs deputy commissioner Gambala acknowledged the BOC's lapses, but assured lawmakers that officials are fixing mistakes.
"Merong pagkukulang, merong weaknesses iyong system, and we don't sit in complacency," Gambala said.
Last November, CCTV camera caught President Rodrigo Duterte's fraternity brothers — immigration assistant commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles — receiving five paper bags allegedly containing P10 million each at a restaurant in a casino mall in Parañaque City.
In April, groups of government employees scored the Duterte administration for hiring former men in uniform for civilian positions in government.