Marcos urged to prioritize solving corruption at Customs, agri-smuggling


Posted at Jul 02 2022 11:20 AM

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MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should prioritize addressing allegations of corruption at the Bureau of Customs, particularly on reports of smuggling agricultural goods, a political analyst said Saturday.

"Sa tingin ko 'yan ang unang-una niyang dapat tingnan. Bilang pangulo paano niya sasawatain ang corruption sa Bureau of Customs. From the get-go matindi ang corruption diyan," law professor Edward Chico told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

At least three ranking officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA), five from the Bureau of Customs, and two local officials had been named in a Senate report as alleged protectors and smugglers of agricultural products in the country.

Former Senate President Vicente Sotto III urged the Marcos administration to reshuffle officials of the DA amid the controversy.

Marcos, who has installed himself as agriculture secretary, has vowed to go after those involved in the agricultural smuggling.

Chico said Marcos' political will to address the issue remains to be seen, "but the fact that he wants to head the Department of Agriculture would presuppose that he would like to focus on that." 


On Marcos' economic team, Chico said it was seen as "a step in the right direction," as the chief executive had appointed officials coming from "all political affiliations."

"In fairness to the president, regardless of political affiliations, pumili talaga siya ng mga technocrats at maraming pumuri sa kaniya diyan," the law professor said. 

"He got people from all political affiliations may naglingkod kay PNoy, may naglingkod kay Duterte, may naglingkod kay GMA."

Marcos' socioeconomic planning chief is Arsenio Balisacan, who served as NEDA director-general under President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III from 2012 to 2016.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Diokno, having served as central bank chief and budget secretary in previous administrations, is the appointed finance secretary.

Diokno served as Budget undersecretary from 1985 to 1991, Budget secretary from 1998 to 2001 under the term of President Joseph Estrada, and also from 2016 to 2019.

— With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, Art Fuentes and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News