THE chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) quit his post days after Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña announced a massive reshuffle in the Bureau of Customs (BoC) for alleged non-performance amid reports of continuing corruption in the bureau.
CIIS officer-in-charge (OIC) Wilkins Villanueva vacated his office on Wednesday last week, or two days after Lapeña expressed his disgust over the CIIS in a speech before Customs officials and personnel after the regular Monday flag-raising ceremony also last week.
“He [Villanueva] has [left]his office. He took all his personal belongings and has never reported since then, along with five of his men that he brought from PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency],” a CIIS insider on Sunday told The Manila Times.
Villanueva was the director of the PDEA-National Capital Region (Metro Manila).
He was among the PDEA officials brought by Lapeña to the Customs bureau after he assumed office last September.
Lapeña, former PDEA chief, and Villanueva did not return telephone calls from The Manila Times and did not respond to text messages sent to them to get their side.
Looming as possible replacement of Villanueva are Cebu Deputy Collector Ricky Morales and PDEA Caraga Director Gilbert Buenafe, whom Lapeña designated as OIC of the Intelligence Division of the CIIS last October 19.
In his November 27 speech, Lapeña said, “I have already relieved around 125 and I am relieving more, including all of the CIIS [staff]. Until now I have not received any intel [intelligence]report on what’s happening in the bureau.”
“Imagine, [after]almost three months I have not received any report. Even [on]the recent protest rally [by importers], if not for the other people, I would not have known about it,” he added.
“Di lang reshuffle, tatanggalin ko kayo lahat diyan sa CIIS [It will not just be a reshuffle, I will remove all of you there at the CIIS),” Lapeña said, giving newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Quinto of the Intelligence Croup a free hand to effect the changes.
Quinto was former PDEA deputy director for operations before his appointment as BoC deputy commissioner.
Lapeña earlier reshuffled all 17 district intelligence chiefs of the bureau.
He admitted that corruption still exists in the bureau, involving "people who are in critical positions.”
"Now I have a deputy commissioner for intelligence group who will really be functioning. Before him, I was not receiving info [information], but now you better be careful because we will eventually catch up with you. I said [the[the]strike policy [wou[would be enforced] Lapeña said.
“If I said that there should be no tara [gre[grease money]g around, there should be no tara. Yet, I still receive reports that those in critical positions still receive [bri[bribe]y,” he added.