Custom’s Gambala resigns

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Customs Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala, one of the officials of the Bureau of Customs implicated in the alleged “tara” or payoff system that the Senate investigated, has resigned, according to Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

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CONTRABAND Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña turns over marijuana and ecstasy tablets to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Director Ismael Fajardo. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO

Lapeña on Tuesday said Gambala submitted his irrevocable resignation a month ago but his replacement has yet to be named by Malacañang.

“Deputy Commissioner Gambala has already filed his irrevocable resignation, it was received a month ago. He told me that he submitted his resignation,” Lapena said.

The customs chief said that Gambala wanted to give more time to his family.

Gambala was among those summoned during the congressional inquiry on the controversial P6.4 Billion shipment of shabu that passed through the Customs bureau through the so-called green lane. Another deputy commissioner – Milo Maestrecampo – also resigned during the course of the congressional probe.

Meanwhile, Lapeña said all shipments coming from abroad, including mail packages at the central mail distribution center, will now be subjected to rigid x-ray inspection to ensure that no illegal drugs and other contraband will be sneaked into the country.

“We are more strict now. All these items coming from abroad must be examined through x-ray scanning,” Lapeña said.

“I suspended the green lane to ensure that all cargoes will be examined,” he added.

However, he said that there exists a “super green lane” for the use of top corporations that are accredited by the bureau.

He said a stricter inspection policy will also be imposed at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) warehouse in Pasay City, where packages from abroad are sorted out for distribution to various parts of the country.
On Tuesday, Lapena turned over to the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) more than P3 million worth of illegal drugs seized at the CMEC.

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