DUE to its failure to stop smuggling of illicit goods, including shabu, the chairman of the House committee on ways and means yesterday said he would recommend the abolition of the Bureau of Customs’ (BoC) Command Center.
Quirino Rep. Dakila “Dax” Cua, the committee chairman, said they would move for the scrapping of the Command Center in connection with their investigation into the P6.4 billion worth of shabu seized by the BoC in Valenzuela City last May.
“Ang isang rekomendasyon na sa tingin ko ay isusulong ng committee ay ‘yung pagbuwag ng Command Center,” Cua told Rowena Salvacion’s Buena Manong Balita weekly morning program over dzBB.
The Command Center is under the control of the BoC Commissioner which has the authority to issue alert orders and subject questionable shipments to inspection.
“At dahil diyan, of course it means they have greater control. Kung greater control, dapat hindi nagiging green lane itong bagong kompanya na may dalang kontrabando,” Cua explained.
“So, ibig sabihin doon, hindi rin naging successful ‘yung tightening ng system through the Command Center,” he said.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez questioned the establishment of the Command Center during the hearing, stressing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon failed to stop the entry of shabu.
The Speaker also said that the Command Center was created without an order from its mother agency, the Department of Finance (DoF).
Cua’s panel and the House committee on dangerous drugs chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers which conducted separate probes into the shabu smuggling at BoC are now working on their respective committee reports.
“We are now drafting the report, we formed an ad hoc committee for that matter. But this does not prevent us from calling for another hearing as requested by Deputy Speaker [and Batangas Rep. Raneo] Abu,” said Cua, referring to the request of Abu to call Faeldon again to a hearing on the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling.
Abu made his request after Faeldon, who did not attend the separate hearings of Cua and Barbers’ panels last week, was given until Monday to rest after being hospitalized at the Manila East Medical Center in Taytay, Rizal for chest problems.
For his part, Barbers said “our investigation is ninety-five percent complete and we are now going to make our report.”