By Raymund Antonio
The “musical chairs” at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has started to play out, with key positions changing hands as part of the internal cleansing in the revenue-generating agency.
BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero fired the opening salvo by removing his own Chief of Staff Teodoro Jumamil, who got the boot due to allegations of corruption.
Guerrero’s office sent notice to BOC’s collection districts that Deputy Commissioner for Internal Administration Group Donato San Juan replaced Jumamil.
“Sir/ma’am please be advised that the Office of the Commissioner will not be receiving communication bearing COS Teodoro Jumamil’s name. The DepCom IAG Donato B. San Juan is now the concurrent Chief of Staff of the Ocom. FYI,” it said.
The sacked official, along with personnel assigned at the Import Assessment Service (IAS), was among those who were complained by a group of brokers for the alleged collection of unnecessary fees.
An earlier report by the Manila Bulletin bared that “the IAS has imposed a new ‘tara’ system that entails them to pay P3,000 per container of general merchandise.”
“The amount guarantees that any importer will be able to pay ‘duties and taxes’ that reach only from P180,000 to P200,000 each container, instead of P250,000 to P300,000 if they refused,” the brokers said.
Importers of vehicles were reportedly being asked to pay from P50,000 to P100,000 per unit, and those who refused were asked to pay the maximum amount in duties and taxes.
His pink slip was also brought about by a complaint in Malacanang about the entry of smuggled sugar in the Port of Subic. The illegal shipment, consigned to JRFD International Trading, arrived at the port sometime between April to May this year.
Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla, who is also the BOC spokesman, confirmed Jumamil was on his way out of the bureau, and was replaced by San Juan.
“He will be just focusing his work, as DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) board member,” Maronilla said, referring to Jumamil.
Before his BOC stint, Jumamil was appointed to DBP in November 2016. He previously served as deputy administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA).
As this developed, top Customs officials and personnel were anxiously waiting for the massive sacking among their ranks upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Chief Executive announced the dismissal of 64 BOC personnel, whom he said, will be assigned to Malacanang while their cases are being heard. He also gave them the option to resign rather than face charges.
Duterte had met with some Customs officials on July 9.
A bureau insider privy to the matter said Jumamil was with Guerrero during the meeting. Four district port collectors and a certain Alex
Go, cousin of the sugar shipment’s broker, were also present.
“The scheduled meeting was centered on Jumamil and smuggling incident in Subic,” the source said.
The informed source said Jumamil was also questioned by Duterte “why is he in BOC when his appointment is as director of DBP.”