Monday, November 5, 2018

Robredo condemns PRRD's order on Customs militarization: Military control won't end Customs corruption



Vice President Leni Robredo | President Rodrigo Duterte | Photo from ABS-CBN 

It is against the constitution!

This is how Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo reacted as she criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to place the Bureau of Customs (BOC) under military control and supposed militarization of government.

Vice President opposes President.

On her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni" Robredo said that the Constitution prohibits active soldiers from taking over civilian posts in the government.

“Klaro sa Saligang Batas na iyong gobyerno natin ay civilian na gobyerno kaya nga pinapamunuan ito ng pangulo—kaya nga iyong pangulo ay iyong commander-in-chief ng armed forces. Parang pagpapahiwatig ito na iyong civilian government, mas mataas." she said.


The Vice president went on and said that the military has its own scope and obligations and the agency of Customs is not one of them.

"When you say the military will take over Customs, this is wrong. This is contrary to the Constitution, because first of all, the military has a set of obligations and this is not included,” Robredo said.

Supposed drug shipments that slipped past the Bureau of Customs | Photo from Philstar

Robredo,  known a vocal critic of Duterte joined others opposing the order of President Duterte on the apparent militarization of government after he ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over operations of the BOC.

Review systems instead?

She also stressed out that officials should instead review systems in place in the Customs that may have allowed corruption to take place in the agency.

“There are too many face-to-face transactions, that is where corruption starts. That should be reduced or human transaction should be limited." she said.

Section 5(4), Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution states, “No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”

She also expressed alarm over Duterte’s statement that he trusts soldiers more as they follow his orders right away.


“Nakakabahala ito kasi hindi sa lahat na bagay nakakatulong iyong hindi pag-kuwestiyon, lalo na kapag mali naman iyong order,” Robredo said.

“Even if we keep replacing the people, if the system is there allowing this extreme corruption to happen, we should be looking at the system: What needs to be changed? I think, this should be paid attention to, not militarization,” Robredo added.

Clean-up Corruption.

Duterte has placed the Customs under the temporary military control to clean up alleged corruption in the agency following the P6.8-billion shabu shipment that slipped past through the agency under the former BOC chief- now TESDA chief Isidro Lapeña.

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Source: Inquirer