By Ellson Quismorio
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles reminded Bureau of Customs (BoC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero Sunday that the House of Representatives has already deemed the agency’s National Valuation Verification System (NVVS) as illegal.
As such, Guerrero may be held liable for graft and corruption, and for violation of the Code of Conduct of Government Employees if he continues to insist implementing it, said the Davao-based solon.
Nograles bared that the House Committee on Ways and Means has already sent two letters, one dated December 9, 2019 and the other December 20, 2009, to Guerrero advising him to cease and desist the implementation of the NVVS, but he and his office chose to ignore the letters.
“The deliberate ignorance and inaction violate of the Code of Conduct of Government Employees and could merit immediate investigation by the Civil Service Commission. The insistence of continued implementation of the NVVS allows for graft and corruption,” Nograles said.
“We expect on Monday that the Committee on Ways and Means will again direct the Customs officials to cease and desist the implementation of the illegal NVVS. Any further inaction may force Congress to either hold the Bureau in contempt of Congress and the filing of necessary charges in the Ombudsman for graft and corruption,” he said.
The Committee on Ways and Means, in its Constitutional duty to exercise its powers of Oversight, has properly investigated and concluded that the NVVS is illegal as it is not found in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Further, the Committee has, in writing twice, officially and formally advised the Customs chief to cease and desist in implementing the NVVS which allowed for the unequal levying of same goods in multiple instances.
“The evidence clearly shows that the same commodities charged differently. The inconsistencies only mean that there is corruption in the NVVS system,” Nograles stressed.
Nograles said that despite the clear declaration of the House Committee on Way and Means that NVVS has no lawful basis, and therefore illegal, Guerrero continues to implement it on the false pretext that it is only used as reference and not a replacement of the transaction value of imported goods.
“The memoranda issued to Customs workers are consistent in the strict implementation of the NVVS system. Why is this? Mukhang merong pinapaboran at pinoprotektahan (Looks like they’re favoring and protecting someone).
“Pagkatapos ng Green Lanes ng previous Commissioner, ang panibagong diskarte ay ang (After the Green Lanes of the previous Commissioner, we have the newfangled NVVS method). This NVVS is a tool for extortion for some corrupt Customs people,” Nograles said.
Nograles said that his office is in receipt of evidence on the inconsistencies of tariff charging of the NVVS and he will disclose the same at the upcoming committee meetings.
Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda chairs the Ways and Means panel.