Customs chief Lapeña suspends 5 BOC officers in Cagayan de Oro

 CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña relieved 5 Bureau of Customs officers here Friday, July 13, for suspicions that they were part of a group which allowed the unauthorized release of over a hundred containers.

Lapeña said that between February 2018 up to July 2018, a total of 104 containers were withdrawn from the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan town, 20 kilometers away from this city, without undergoing the usual Customs release procedures.

MICT is one of the biggest ports in Mindanao and is a major international logistics gateway for trading.

“The containers were withdrawn without authority, and with that case we continue to pursue our investigation until we discover more. Until as of yesterday afternoon (July 13) the total number of containers van unauthorized withdrawn is 104,” Lapeña added.

Lapeña added the BOC also "discovered" 105 container vans released without official papers in the Port of Manila. 

Lapeña said their "discovery" of the illegal practice was a positive development. “That’s why we are very aggressive on these, what’s happening here in MICT is a positive accomplishment,” Lapena added.

He added: “I will make it very difficult for them," referring to illegal activities within the bureau.

Lapeña said that upon backtracking they discovered that these illegal activities used fake customs papers.

“Our staff from the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) from Manila are taking the lead in the investigation," said Lapeña.

Cagayan de Oro Customs Collector Jamail Marohomsalic said that the illegally released container vans used fictitious papers and did not through customs. 

Marohomsalic said that they were not aware of the value of the containers, “I cannot give an estimated value at the moment,” he said. – Rappler.com