Customs Orders Suspension of Employees and Brokers with Criminal Complaints

Philippine Bureau of CustomsImage by shot-goon via Flickr
Bureau of Customs

A March 28, 2011 fact sheet by the Bureau of Customs, Department of Finance
1. Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez has ordered the preventive suspension of customs employees who have been named respondents in smuggling and other criminal complaints.
2. The customs chief also directed the agency’s Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group to file administrative charges against customs brokers who have been accused of involvement in technical smuggling and other violations of the Customs and Tariff Code.
3. Alvarez disclosed that the brokers’ accreditation privilege would be suspended “if the complaint or charge is found by the BOC’s Legal Service to be serious and prima facie evidence is shown to support the complaint or charge.”
4. The preventive suspension was ordered, said Alvarez, to ensure that the respondents would not be able to influence the outcome of the investigation and to correct misconceptions that the agency’s campaign against smuggling and corruption was not serious enough.
5. Between July 2010 and mid-March 2011, the BOC had filed 30 criminal cases before the Department of Justice. Among those who were charged were importers and brokers of firearms, illegal drugs, high-end cars, heavy equipment, rice, sugar, onions as well as steel and oil products.
6. Alvarez said he wanted all Customs personnel who played a role in the release of smuggled products be identified, investigated and, if evidence warrants, charged both criminally and administratively.
7. Customs Deputy Commissioner and RATS Executive Director Gregorio Chavez that “a total of 12 customs employees, among them customs operations officers, examiners and document processors, activities have either been charged or recommended for inclusion in the smuggling and corruption cases that the agency has filed against errant importers.