Customs official denies poor performance, lifestyle check

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2018 08:39 AM | Updated as of Sep 16 2019 01:09 PM

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MANILA - Lourdes Mangaoang, former x-ray division chief of the Bureau of Customs, denied Tuesday that she has been repeatedly reassigned due to poor performance and that she is being subjected to a lifestyle check. 

Mangaoang claimed recently that x-ray machines had detected drugs inside magnetic lifters that slipped past Customs inspection and were eventually found empty in Cavite province in August.

Several newspapers, however, published reports that Mangaong is being investigated by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) for alleged lavish lifestyle and assets that are disproportionate to her salary as a government employee. 

Customs spokesman Erastus Austria earlier this week also revealed that Mangaong was transferred to several departments because she was not doing her job well.

Mangaoang rejected Austria's statement, saying she received 10 commendations this year for hitting collection targets. 

The official also dubbed her latest reassignment to the Customs Compliance Monitoring Unit as "illegal." She has filed an appeal against it before the Civil Service Commission and has kept her post as deputy collector at the main airport pending its resolution. 

She added that imputations on her performance merely aim to divert public attention away from the P6.8 billion drug haul that allegedly slipped past Customs. 

"Hindi ho iyan ang issue. Ang issue ho ay droga... Dina-divert nila iyung issue kasi hindi nila masagot iyung mga sinasabi ko," she added. 

(That is not even the issue, the issue is drugs. They are diverting the issue because they cannot answer my statements.) 

'THEY'RE AFRAID OF ME' 

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PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna has also been quoted in a news report denying that Mangaoang is undergoing a lifestyle check, she noted. 

The PACC, she said, is still searching for a certain Ed Cordevilla who filed the complaint accusing her of corruption. 

Cordevilla indicated no forwarding address in his complaint, she said. 

Mangaoang added that she received information that Lapeña's camp leaked the supposed lifestyle check against her to the media. 

"Fake news po iyan... Ang purpose lang n'yan ay gibain ako dahil itong si Commissioner Lapeña, upon the suggestion of Atty. Sandino Austria, may directive siya to discredit me dahil takot na takot siya sa aking testimony," she said. 

(That's fake news. The purpose of that is to malign me. Commissioner Lapeña, upon the suggestion of Atty. Sandino Austria, issued a directive to discredit me because he is afraid of my testimony.) 

Mangaoang said she has passed mandatory lifestyle checks by the Manila International Container Terminal and the National Bureau of Investigation.