Press Release
July 30, 2013


Senate finance committee chairman Sen. Chiz Escudero filed a resolution asking the senate to investigate the alleged "padrino system" that has been plaguing the Bureau of Customs (BoC). This after high officials of the bureau admitted that influential personalities have been interfering in the agency's conduct of business.

Escudero, through Senate Resolution Number 124 (SRN 124), urged the Blue Ribbon committee, the Ways and Means and the Finance committees respectively to look into the "padrino system" that has embedded in the system by some members of congress.

"This political patronage in the bureau's system is a loud whisper that cannot and should not be ignored anymore. It has acculturated the entire agency, even its own officials already admitted to its existence. We in Congress should police our own ranks. Who else will look into this if we ourselves turn our eyes away from it?" the senator asked.

BoC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon himself admitted in an interview that the "padrino system" is difficult to break up because it is deeply entrenched inside and outside the system. His deputy, Commissioner for Intelligence Danilo Lim also admitted in a report that "powerful forces are interfering in the operations of BoC". These "powerful forces", also confirmed by its Commissioner for Administration, include senators, congressmen and relatives of some high officials.

Last week, Escudero challenged the BoC officials to name names so that those who are guilty can be made accountable.

"Assuming that not all employees of the BoC are thieves, but the government must weed out all the thieves in the agency, and all those who dip themselves in its coffers, especially from members of Congress if there are. There is an emphasis on the kind of public accountability that is constitutionally demanded of from senators and representatives of the Republic," he said

Escudero said Section 14, Article 6 of the Constitution categorically proscribes any form of intervention from members of Congress in any matter before any office of government for his pecuniary benefit.

Likewise, he said Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act defines persuading, inducing or influencing any another public officer as one of the corrupt practices punishable under the law.

The senator said the Customs, as the second biggest revenue earner in government, deserves a full and thorough legislative deliberation not only to institute reforms but also to cleanse it. "The BoC has long been perceived as the most corrupt agency in the government. Its performance in terms of revenue collection is a major instrument for the government's target programs. Any deficit is directly proportional to the public's disadvantage".

The BoC has admitted it would fall short of its revenue target of PhP340 billion for 2013.

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