MANILA—Customs deputy collector Lourdes Mangaoang on Saturday alleged that the "tara" system, or the end-of-the-week distribution of bribes, still prevails at the bureau.
"Nandyan po 'yan, pero lumalaki lalo. Ito po ang napansin ko, habang may mga bago, mas lumalaki, nawawala 'yung tara sa baba, umaakyat sa taas," Mangaoang told radio DZMM.
Mangaoang also questioned why those with no experience in the agency accepted their appointment to head the bureau.
"Ito ho ang experience ko sa Customs, tuwing may bagong dumadating, 'We will cleanse the bureau, we will reform,’ pero sa totoo lang sila 'yung pinakamalaking manghingi. Lilinawin ko po hindi po lahat. Atsaka tuwing may bagong dumarating may iskandalo," she said.
"Kasi unang-una, pumapasok sila d'yan, kinukuha nila 'yung puwesto, wala silang alam."
Former Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña acknowledged last year that the "tara" system remained, as he succeeded Nicanor Faeldon.
Customs fixer Mark Taguba previously told senators he had distributed a total of P92 million since August last year for the release of shipments.
Total "tara" for that period was P489,600, he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he believes Mangaoang's claim that the "tara" system is still in place at the bureau.
"Sigurado akong tama 'yung sinasabi niya. Kasi nagkaroon na ng privilege speech si Sen. (Panfilo) Lacson diyan, remember?" he told radio DZMM.
"Meron pang figures du'n kung magkano ang tinatanggap, kung kailan nagbibigayan. Merong mga rekomendasyon na ang (Senate) blue ribbon (committee) tungkol d'yan."
In a privilege speech last year, Lacson named alleged major recipients of tara (grease money) at the bureau.
Sotto said he would like the whole bureau to be overhauled.
"Di ako nakatiis, nai-tweet ko, sabi ko ang kailangan sa BOC i-overhaul, top-to-bottom," he said.
"I really don’t know if it’ll work or if it’s good or bad but it’s an idea. Ang iniisip ko d'yan i-privatize na natin. Privatize mo na, basta nagbabayad sa gobyerno ng kung magkano ang gusto ng gobyerno every year na matatanggap."