DAVAO CITY, Oct. 29 -President Rodrigo R. Duterte will replace personnel of Bureau of Customs (BOC) with soldiers to ensure that corruption in the agency will stop.
Duterte bared this plan in a speech during the birthday celebration of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at The Marco Polo Davao on Sunday.
Duterte said he will ask the newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a retired Army general, to talk to his boss Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III requesting the X-ray machines suppliers of BOC to train the men in uniform.
The President said he told Guerrero to assign the technical personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to operate the Customs X-ray machines.
"They will be replaced, all of them by military men. It will be a takeover by the Armed Forces," he said.
The President also said there will be a new guideline on the release of container vans, where there should be three signatures before it will be released out of Custom's control.
The President said the signatories could be personnel from PCG or Philippine Navy for container vans that will undergo X-ray machine examination.
Duterte said he will issue a memorandum placing personnel of BOC including the Customs Police and its Intelligence Units on 'floating status', to report to Malacañang.
"They will hold office at the Malacañan Gymnasium. All of them," he said.
He said, for the meantime, this will be his way to sort out how to resolve the corruption problem inside the BOC which started many years ago.
Duterte said he could not dismiss all BOC personnel immediately but cannot solve the problem of corruption issue inside the bureau if they will not be out of their office.
"As we deal the day to day reality, almost all of them there have been, one way or the other, involved or charged with corruption," he said.
He said these personnel are taking advantage of the due process to continue their illegal activity inside the bureau.
Duterte also reiterated that the two former Customs Commissioners Isidro Lapeña and Nicanor Faeldon are not involved in the corruption that led to the release of alleged shabu shipment in X-ray inspection of the office.
Faeldon was relieved from BOC after P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment was released by customs personnel last year.
But, the President said Faeldon is the one who revealed the smuggling of Mighty Cigarette with P30 billion worth tax debt to the government.
"If I were Faeldon, why would I gamble with, itong droga (illegal drugs)? A lot of moving eyes looking what is passing in front of you. Pati ba naman yan pakialaman niya (Why would he meddle with that). Ito malinis ito (this is clean), all he has to do is to be silent about the cigarettes," he said.
Duterte said Faeldon could get as much as P10 billion if he allowed Might Cigarette to continue their illegal activity.
The President also said he could not also get the point why Lapeña will be involved in illegal drugs as he has already businesses and a millionaire wife.