2 BOC-Zamboanga execs axed over missing smuggled rice

By Azer Parrocha

October 4, 2018, 7:05 pm

MANILA – Two officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Zamboanga City have been placed under “administrative relief” pending investigation on the 23,015 missing sacks of smuggled rice, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said BOC chief Isidro Lapeña has ordered the preventive suspension of Port of Zamboanga District Collector Lyceo Martinez and Customs police district commander Filomeno Salazar.

Roque said the two officials were suspended so that they could not “tamper with evidence and cannot influence the investigation.”

“I got a text from the Executive Secretary (Salvador Medialdea) asking me to inform the nation that the President (Rodrigo Duterte) was visibly upset with the missing 23,015 sacks of apprehended smuggled rice in Zamboanga City,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque said the incident showed that there is smuggling, that smuggled rice is being sold in the market, and that there are warehouses that are hoarding rice.

At present, he said officials of the BOC could be held liable for the missing sacks of smuggled rice.

To date, 16,000 sacks have been recovered from various privately-owned warehouses. (PNA)