We’ve noticed no sign of changes in over two weeks since Alberto Lina recouped the coveted post of Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner.
It seems the lull before the storm of an anticipated major revamp of personnel, particularly in key positions.
Or is it because the expected moves were pre-empted by the disclosure of erstwhile BOC chief John Philip Sevilla that Malacañang had ordered him to make questionable assignments of shady personalities to sensitive positions?
Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa reportedly ordered Sevilla to assign shady personalities to “sensitive positions,” including one Atty. Teddy Raval to head the BOC enforcement and security services (ESS).
But Sevilla resisted Ochoa’s order so out the honest and good civil servant went.
Malacañang’s scheme allegedly entails carrying out the “special operation” for the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in which the BOC will play the indispensable role as its campaign fund-generating machinery.
Needless to say, billions of pesos that the BOC generates daily in customs duties and taxes at the country’s ports must go to the national treasury and not to LP’s campaign booty.
I sure hope Senator Grace Poe would not allow herself be part of this hideous scheme! Noynoy has reportedly wooed the popular Poe to be Mar Roxas’ running-mate.
In two weeks-time, what made news instead is the nagging issue of “conflict of interest” in Lina’s assumption as BOC boss as he owns a number of companies, which all transact business at Aduana day-in day-out.
Lina, owner of Air 21, Air Freight 2100, LG Logistics and 2100 Customs Brokers Inc., is a second-timer at the BOC top post. His first stint during the term of Gloria Arroyo abruptly ended when he joined the walkout of so-called “Hyatt 10” in 2005.
Some legitimate brokers noted that Lina’s private company employees have been “hanging out” at the BOC commissioner’s office.
“He’s a major player and he has never left Customs. What we hope for is fairness, considering that his own private group is at an advantageous position,” one major broker told me yesterday.
In naming Lina as BOC chief, Noynoy could not care less about the issue of conflict of interest.
There is totally no sense of delicadeza, which never cropped up in the past year.
Ironically, Sevilla appeared to be doing a good job, tightening the noose on smuggling.
But it was foolish, in the first place, to even imagine that things could be straightened up and BOC’s rotten system fixed.
No matter whom Noynoy appoints as BOC chief, he is bound to fail especially if he starts toying about the idea of Matuwid na Daan which has no place in the real world on Aduana.
Apparently that’s what hit Sevilla who may have thought of himself as the superhero who’d rid BOC of the age-old graft and corruption rooted deeply in the lucrative smuggling business.
Unfortunately, it took over a year for Sevilla to realize that the so-called Matuwid na Daan anti-graft and corruption drive is all a sham and has nothing to do with the intended functions of his office.
The real job of the commissioner is not to straighten up the crooked system but to keep the “status quo.”
Noynoy, through Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima, wasted no time to tap Lina’s services and thus he became the fourth BOC commissioner installed by Noynoy.
Now with a fellow “Hyatt 10” veteran at the helm, Purisima is confident things will be “straightened up” at BOC in time for the upcoming election year.
The issue of conflict of interests in Lina’s appointment may be a secondary to the allegations of LP’s illegal fund-raising scheme through the BOC.
We must keep a watchful eye on Lina, a shoo-in for the job cut out for him in this crucial last year of this fraudulent and plunderous administration.
This Matuwid na Daan is nothing but bullcrap!