House panel OKs Duterte emergency powers to abolish BOC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2017 11:20 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2017 11:49 AM

MANILA - (UPDATED) The House of Representatives' chief tax-writing committee recommended Tuesday the granting of emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to reorganize the allegedly corruption-plagued Bureau of Customs.

In an 82-page report, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved emergency powers for Duterte to abolish the BOC and replace it with 2 new bureaus.

The bureaus will be tasked with "(1) protecting and securing the national borders and (2) assessing and collecting duties and taxes,"
the report said.

BOC has been at the heart of 2 legislative inquiries for failing to stop the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of high-grade shabu in May this year.

During the probe, Senator Panfilo Lacson and fixer Mark Taguba accused some BOC officials, including former agency head Nicanor Faeldon, of pocketing millions in grease money or "tara" in exchange for facilitating the release of questionable shipments.

The House Ways and Means Committee meanwhile said Faeldon "systematized" corruption within BOC, costing government about P43.8 billion in lost revenues.

"To further systematize the corruption within the bureau, Commissioner Faeldon created the Command Center (Comcen). Faeldon removed the powers of the various Bureau offices to issue and lift alert orders and centralized it into the Comcen," read a panel report released Monday.

"By doing so Commissioner Faeldon and his cohorts used the Comcen as a conduit of corruption and monopolizing the collection of tara from Customs Players."

The same report recommended the dismissal of Faeldon, Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala, Director Neil Anthony Estrella, Diurector Milo Maestrecampo, Atty Mary Grace Malabed, Atty. Larribert Hilario, Atty. Vincent Philipp Maronilla, Lorna Rosario, Rainer Ragos and Alexandra Yap Ventura, Mandy Anderson, and Althea Acas.

The committee also called for an investigation against key BOC officials, fixers and the raiding team that seized May's shabu haul at a Valenzuela City warehouse.

With reports from Robert Mano and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN New