Press Release
February 7, 2010


A group of customs brokers has complained to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) about the alleged extortion activities of certain unscrupulous officials in the Bureau of Customs.

The distraught customs brokers told Pimentel that they were being charged a Twenty Thousand Pesos (Php 20,000.00) fee for the inspection and release of every 20-foot container van but the amount indicated in the official receipt is only Ten Thousand Pesos (Php 10,000.00).

In the same manner, they said they were billed Forty Thousand Pesos (Php 40,000.00) for every 40-foot container van, but only Twenty Thousand Pesos (Php 20,000.00) is receipted.

They informed Pimentel that when they inquired about the difference in the amount of fees paid and the amount receipted, they were told that they were only following a directive from higher-ups. They said they were made to believe that this was part of "fund-raising" supposedly for the election expenses of certain candidates.

"Such illegal activity should not be tolerated and the abusive customs officials involved in the scam, whoever they are, should be fired and punished. Our businessmen should be spared from any illegal imposition or to put it plainly, extortion, especially at this time when the country has yet to recover from an economic slump. Otherwise, public trust in government will continue be eroded,"

Pimentel said that even if Congress is in recess, he will ask for a Senate inquiry into this mulcting operation.

"I will request the Senate committee involved to conduct a formal investigation and I hope the Senate leadership will support me in this regard," he said.

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