AT BoC? Waterfront stakeholders welcomed the allegation of ‘Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta’ (PBA) partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles that smuggling syndicates managed to “hack” the computer system of the Bureau of Customs (BoC), saying if proven true, it shows the “colossal failure of the ‘Grupong Magdalo’ to shield the country from the menace of illegal drugs.”
“If even half of what the good congressman from Davao has claimed is true, then it should be sufficient basis for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to remove those he entrusted at the BoC to protect the country from the menace of smuggling that now includes the entry into the country of illegal drugs,” said sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Last week, Nograles issued a statement claiming that smuggling syndicates, purportedly hurting from the “aggressive anti-corruption campaign” being launched in the agency by Comm. Nicanor Faeldon, have “apparently gone high-tech and may have compromised the BoC’s computer system.”
Nograles made the statement amidst the readiness of some of his colleagues in the chamber and the Senate to conduct an inquiry over the entry into the country last May of 605 kilos of shabu worth some P6.5 billion but which was not detected prior to its release by customs officials.
The planned inquiry will be held as soon as Congress convenes this month, after Pres. Duterte delivers next Monday, July 24, his ‘State of the Nation Address’ (SONA).
Quoting his unnamed sources, Nograles averred that the shabu slipped past under the bureau’s nose “because the computer system that manages the classification of shipments has been tampered with.”
Sources, however, pointed out that since Faeldon became Customs commissioner exactly one year ago this month, he has brought into the bureau his fellow rebel soldiers from the ‘Grupong Magdalo’ and immediately “centralized” and “partitioned” the bureau’s operations among themselves to include the bureau’s ‘Selectivity System.’
The system is the bureau’s “nerve center” in the classification of all incoming shipments where they are designated either as ‘Green,’ ‘Yellow’ or ‘Red.’ In the shabu incident, the shipment was classified as ‘Green’ that precluded its being examined prior to its release.
The system is now under the direct control of Faeldon thru the ‘Command Center’ and the “RMO” (Risk Management Office), both of which are in turn being supervised by his fellow Magdalos, deputy commissioner for management information and technology (MISTG) Gerardo Gambala and Import Assessment Service (IAS) director, Milo Maestrocampo.
“The entire bureau is now under the effective control of the Magdalos, from the administrative side to the operations side; from which shipment should be tagged ‘Green’ or what amount of taxes and duties a shipment should pay to the government. All the bureau’s career officials and employees are now relegated to the sidelines,” the sources pointed out.
“Thus, if there is any colossal failure like the entry of illegal drugs in the country, making a ‘scapegoat’ of smugglers’ alleged ability to ‘hack’ the bureau’s computer system is simply to avoid pointing the blame to themselves,” the sources added.
In the aftermath of the incident, the sources pointed out further that Faeldon never lifted a finger to even suspend Gambala, Maestrocampo or any other official at the ComCen and RMO.
“Instead, the bureau is now skirting the issue of responsibility by claiming that smugglers have managed to hack the BoC computer system. Eh, sino ba ang ‘nagbabantay’ ng sistema, hindi ba sila (Magdalo)?” “Pres. Duterte should take note of this fact; he should immediately act to protect the country by removing the Magdalos at BoC for their failure to do their job properly,” the sources stressed.