THE Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the recall of 20 ranking Bureau of Customs (BoC) officials and asked them to report to the Customs Personnel Research Office (CPRO) as part of the continuing effort to cleanse the graft-ridden bureau.
DOF Assistant Secretary Ephyro Luis Amatong wrote a letter to Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. requesting the exemption of the latest DoF order from the coverage of Comelec ban on hiring, transfer, appointment or creation of new positions under Resolution 9581. The ban, which took effect during the barangay elections of October 28, is in effect until November 12 and covers all civil service personnel and official.
“This exemption is urgently needed to facilitate the ongoing reform measure in the Bureau of Customs,” Amatong said in a letter dated October 31.
Included in the freeze order is Assistant Secretary Ericson Alcovendaz, chief of the Post Entry Audit Group, a crucial unit in the bureau’s anti-smuggling campaign. He was previously assistant executive secretary in charge of finance at the Office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.
Also covered by the order were Directors George Alino of the Enforcement Security Service (ESS); Fernandino Tuason, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS); Ramon Cuyco, Collection Service; Simplicio Domingo II, Legal Service and Kissinger Reyes, Technology Management Service.
The division chiefs were lawyer Eden Dandeal; Internal Inquiry and Prosecution Division (IIPD); Javier Alpano, Investigation and Prosecution Division (IPD); Lyceo Martines, Appellate Division; Giovanni Ferdinand Leynes, Prosecution and Investigation Division (PID); Roberto Sacramento, Prosecution and Litigation Division (PLD); Ricardo Morales, Proseuction and Litigation Division; and Felimon Mendoza Jr., Ruling and Research Division.
Remedios Espinosa, Collection District 2-B, Manila International Container Port; Jose Brigido Yuchongco, Customs Police Division; Eric Albano, assistant chief, Intelligence Division; Richard Rebong, Intelligence Division; Elenito Astorga Abano, Public Information and Assistance Division and Hurberto Vasquez, Public Information and Assistance Division.
The DoF earlier ordered the transfer of 16 district collectors and 37 sub-ports collectors to the CPRO.
Among them were the so-called three kings of customs, namely: Collector Ricardo Belmonte of the Manila International Container Port; Collector Ding So of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Collector Roger Gatchalian of the Port of Manila.
Of the 16 collectors, four decided to resign rather than stay at the CPRO, which port observers say is a “floating status” namely: So, Gatchalian and Collectors Ronnie Silvestre and John Tan.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon also came out with Customs Personnel Order B-134-2013 implementing a bureau-wide revamp by revoking the designations of all customs officials and the return to their mother units of the more than 3,000 rank and file employees.