No reason for DOF chief to step down: Palace

By Jelly Musico

October 31, 2018, 7:53 pm

MANILA -- Malacañang on Wednesday said there is no reason for Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to heed some quarters’ calls for him to step down amid the corruption in its attached bureaus, including the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“The Palace finds no reason or basis for such call,” Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“Secretary Dominguez continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added.

Panelo said Dominguez, one of Duterte’s trusted economic managers, steered the country’s economy to become one of the best-performing growth leaders in the region.

He said the economy continues to perform remarkably, noting that: “Revenue collections reached new record-highs during his stewardship, including the highest first quarter tax effort we have ever achieved in the past 25 years.”

Panelo said Dominguez is expected to maintain his “superb work ethic” for the rest of his stint in the DOF.

Contrary to government critics’ claim, Panelo said Dominguez is fully aware of the issues surrounding the BOC.

“The corruption in the BOC is complex and the Secretary does not need to be blunt just to exhibit what he does to address it,” Panelo said.

“He was in touch with former BOC Chief Isidro Lapeña and he is slated to meet with the new Customs head Rey Leonardo Guerrero regarding the bureau’s operations,” he added.

Last week, Duterte announced the designation of Guerrero, a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as new Customs chief amid investigation on the PHP6.8 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the BOC.

Duterte has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to field personnel in the BOC to help Guerrero in addressing rampant corruption that led to the entry of multi-billion-peso illegal drug shipments. (PNA)