‘A dangerous President- De Lima warns against military takeover of Customs
The decision of President Rodrigo Duterte for the AFP to take over the Bureau of Customs
(BoC) sets a “dangerous precedent,” detained Senator Leila de Lima said on Monday.
The President made the move supposedly to address deep-seated corruption and smuggling at the BoC.
“It normalizes the unconstitutional act of granting the military-civilian functions and power over civilian offices,” De Lima said.
It is another one of Duterte’s populist moves designed to appeal to the prevailing frustration of
the people with his own “anemic response to the smuggling of billions of pesos of shabu,” she said.
“Duterte himself brought about the present state of corruption at the BoC by failing to stop shabu
shipments at the very first instance,” De Lima said.
She noted that tt started with the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling under then Customs Commissioner
Nicanor Faeldon. This followed by another P11 billion shipment under Isidro Lapeña.
“Duterte now resorts to this populist gimmick to get himself out of the problem he himself created when
he did not go after Faeldon, instead recycling him to the Office of Civil Defense and now to BuCor (Bureau of Corrections),” she said.
Civilian bureaucracy is governance
She deplored that Mr. Duterte again tolerated the same incompetence and connivance at the BoC by recycling Lapeña to TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) after another P11 billion shabu shipment slipped through.
“Deploying the military to every conceivable crisis in the civilian bureaucracy governance by gimmickry,” De Lima said.
“It tells a lot about Duterte’s severely limited imagination in solving the country’s problems,” the opposition senator said.
She added that the President’s “kneejerk response to ask the military to solve every problem of the country also reflects his predisposition to ultimately have a military junta take over the country.”
“Duterte’s belief that military rule best for the country borne out of his strongman style of governance,” the senator from Bicol said.
“The limitations of this style become readily apparent when applied to complex social realities,” the senator said.
She added, “This shown in Duterte’s own frustration with his inability to accomplish anything in solving the perennial problems of corruption and criminality after almost halfway into his term.”
De Lima detained at the Phil. National Police Custodial Center in February 2017 on drug charges.