Bureau of Customs top choice on presidential bets’ corruption probe wish list

February 27, 2022 - 8:47 PM
Presidential candidates (from left to right) Leody de Guzman, Jose Montemayor Jr., Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Ping Lacson, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Ernesto Abella and Faisal Mangondato at the presidential debate at the University of Santo Tomas and aired on CNN Philippines on Feb. 27, 2022. (Marvin John Uy for Philstar.com)

The government agency “Bureau of Customs” trended on Twitter Philippines after it was floated in the presidential candidates’ corruption probe wish list during the CNN Philippines‘ presidential debate on Sunday.

During the forum, presidential candidates were asked which government agency they will investigate first for corruption allegations if they win the 2022 elections.

They were given a whiteboard and a marker to write down their responses for this part of the debate.

Eight of the candidates chose the BOC for their first corruption probe.

Only Sen. Manny Pacquiao wrote down the Department of Health as the top of his wish list. However, he also listed BOC as among the agencies he would investigate should he win the 2022 polls.

After this segment, BOC reached the top trending topics of Twitter Philippines.

As of writing, it garnered nearly 3,000 tweets under its belt as Twitter users react to the presidential bets’ top choice.

Some resorted to sharing funny reaction photos and memes on what BOC and its employees must have felt after being in the limelight at the forum.

Other viewers, on the other hand, agreed with the presidential bets who flagged BOC for corruption allegations.

“Bureau of Customs is one of the least sincere government agency in fighting corruption since 2005. Ang daming fixers din diyan for smuggling,” a Twitter user said.

“It only shows all presidentiables are well are of the corruptions happening inside Bureau of Customs. Pinakamalala naman talaga. I hope magawan talaga ito ng paraan,” another online user tweeted.

Some online users shared their expectations on what should have been the candidates’ choice.

“Tbh (To be honest) I expected DOH to be the first choice for investigation given the pandemic. Bureau of Customs, ano ginawa niyo ha. I think kabahan na kayo,” a Twitter user said.

“Safe answer yung Bureau of Customs, dapat OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT omg imagine,” another Twitter user wrote.

Corruption allegations vs Customs

The BOC has been embroiled in various corruption allegations under the current administration. President Rodrigo Duterte himself called it a corruption-infested agency.

In 2017, the bureau was caught in crosshairs after P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs from China were discovered and seized in Valenzuela City.

The next year, in 2018, another P11 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized in Cavite.

Then, in 2019, P1 billion worth of illegal drugs were again found at the Manila International Container Port.

In that same year, Duterte announced that he would dismiss 64 officials due to alleged corruption.

Under his presidency, Duterte appointed three military men to head BOC as the bureau faced corruption allegations. These are Nicanor Faeldon Isidro Lapeña and Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

The CNN Philippines vice-presidential and presidential debates are conducted in partnership with the University of Santo Tomas.

The presidential debate is moderated by CNN Philippines anchors Pia Hontiveros and Pinky Webb. It was held at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.

Here are the following nine presidential candidates who participated:

  1. Ernesto Abella
  2. Leody de Guzman
  3. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso
  4. Norberto Gonzales
  5. Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
  6. Faisal Mangondato
  7. Jose Montemayor, Jr.
  8. Sen. Manny Pacquiao
  9. Vice President Leni Robredo