by MATTHEW DAVE JUCOM
EIGHT OUT of nine presidential candidates who attended CNN Philippines’ debate on Sunday said they would primarily investigate the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which was accused last year of alleged corruption, should they be elected.
When asked what government agency would they investigate first for corruption, presidential bets Ernesto Abella, Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Norbeto Gonzales, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Faisal Mangondato, and Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said the Bureau of Customs.
The BOC, together with the Department of Agriculture, was probed December 2021 in the Senate for alleged smuggling of agricultural products, which had conflicted the income of the local farmers and fishermen.
Last October, Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who was then the newly-appointed BOC commissioner, said he would intensify the anti-corruption campaign after the government agency had issued 516 show-cause orders from January to September 2021.
BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) started investigating 126 personnel and filed 31 administrative cases to BOC-Legal Service, which resulted in the suspension, dismissal, and reshuffling of some of their employees.
Meanwhile. Sen. Manny Pacquiao said that he would prioritize the investigation of the Department of Health, which has been accused of questionable dealings with Pharmally, given the chance to be the next president. F