• Palace silent on BOC reforms


    A Palace official on Wednesday said President Benigno Aquino 3rd is very much aware of the events happening at the corruption-ridden Bureau of Customs.

    At a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperon Edwin Lacierda said the President knows the “battlefield” – referring to the agency that got a lashing at the recent State of the Nation Address.

    “There’s an intel for Customs… part of the process of instituting reforms is to know the battlefield and the lay of the land and what the reforms are would be in response to the lay of the land,” Lacierda said.

    Since Aquino rebuked the agency last week for its inefficiency in battling smuggling, Palace officials remain tightlipped on the reform measures it would undertake in the bureau.

    Lacierda was reacting to a statement made by administration senator Antonio Trillanes IV that Aquino knows who are the “padrinos” (godfather) linked to smuggling.

    The official said he talked to Trillanes on Wednesday morning but did not discuss the senator’s claim.

    “I spoke to Senator Trillanes and he was saying that he supports the president’s call for reforms and were just waiting what reforms will be. We did not discuss the issue particularly on the who are the corrupt officials,” he said.

    Several high-ranking officials of the BOC revealed of “powerful” forces within and outside the bureau but refused to name them.

    Meanwhile, BOC Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon started initiating reforms at the bureau by asking district collectors to leave their posts.

    Again, Lacierda kept mum and did not provide a definite answer when asked if these were some of the reforms being laid out to weed out corruption in the bureau.

    “If I answer you one way, there would be a lot of implications and unintended consequences. You will know, let’s wait for the reforms,” he said. PNA


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