Escudero seeks Senate probe in alleged "padrino system" in Customs

July 31, 2013 11:22 am 

MANILA, July 30 — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is "grossly unfair" in not divulging the names of congressmen and senators allegedly involved in the "padrino system," said Senator Francis Escudero on Tuesday.

Escudero, who chairs the Committee of Finance, said that because the bureau did not identify top officials involved in dishonest exploits, this made all congressmen and senators suspects.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon recently reshuffled the bureau, but according to Escudero it should have been done from the very beginning, even before President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22.

This drove Escudero to file a resolution asking the Senate to investigate the alleged "padrino system" that has been plaguing the bureau.

"This political patronage in the bureau's system is a loud whisper that cannot and should not be ignored anymore. It has acculturated the entire agency, even its own officials already admitted to its existence,” Escudero said.

“We in Congress should police our own ranks. Who else will look into this if we ourselves turn our eyes away from it?" he added.

He also said that the Customs, as the second biggest revenue earner in government, should have a full and thorough legislative deliberation not only to institute reforms but also to cleanse it.

“Alter their uniforms, make sure there are no pockets, change tables and furniture, they should be made of glass with no drawers,” Escudero quipped.

“It should start there so that immediately there is a transformation seen,” he added. “They (BOC) officials will have a tough time doing what they are used to doing.” (PNA)

LAM/ANP

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