MANILA, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Christine O. Avendaño - It’s like he’s being slapped in the face.

This was President’s Aquino’s angry reaction to the continuing corruption at the Bureau of Customs, headed by Rozzano Rufino Biazon.

Apologizing early on to those who may be offended by what he would say, President Aquino expressed his displeasure over the horror stories of corruption involving the bureau and its personnel during his speech at its 110th founding anniversary on Monday.

The President cited several cases, including a Porsche-driving Customs clerk who was now facing administrative charges for firing a gun at two students and beating them up following a traffic altercation.

“It’s a kind of mentality that he’s better than the rest, isn’t it?” the Chief Executive said in his speech.

Malacañang has ordered the Customs clerk’s dismissal as a result of the incident.

The President also cited the case of someone he knew whose aide ended up waiting for some six hours for the release of a package held at the Post Office just because he was not able to treat the employees there to merienda (snacks).

Aquino narrated that two weeks ago his friend sent his aide to pick up a package at the post office but employees there asked if they would be treated to merienda.

“The merienda even had a price—P2,500,” he said, adding that the aide ended up waiting for the package to be released at 3 p.m. since he got there at 9 a.m.

The President also mentioned someone who he said had bragged that his watch was worth millions of pesos. When this person was asked what his job was, he answered that he was “one of the biggest rice and sugar smugglers in the country.”

He said stories like these were a slap in his face.

“I can take being slapped for the sake of the country but what I find unacceptable is for the needs of the people to be slapped. They trample on the people who gave them the opportunity to serve them. That can’t be,” he said.

The President appealed to the bureau to help fix the system as he vowed to fix its state.

“Do the right thing and the government will also do the right thing for you,” he said.

To curb corruption in the bureaucracy, the President said that Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad were completing a plan to provide a productivity incentive bonus for employees in government agencies who are performing well.

Porsche-driving Customs clerk probed By Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—A clerk of the Bureau of Customs is in hot water after beating up a student following a recent traffic altercation along the Southern Luzon Expressway while driving a white Porsche.

Customs Chief Ruffy Biazon has given the erring BOC employee, identified as Paulino Elevado, until Tuesday to report to him personally.

If Elevado fails to appear on Tuesday, he will be declared absent without leave, which can result in his dismissal and the forfeiture of his benefits.

“I will give him until Tuesday and if he fails to appear, we would initiate the proceedings for declaring him Awol,” Biazon told reporters Friday.

The Customs chief said Elevado needed to shed light on the incident that occurred on Southern Luzon Expressway, where the latter allegedly beat up a student following a traffic altercation. But Elevado has not been reporting to work since Jan. 23 or 24, following the incident, said Biazon.

Elevado will be in deeper trouble if investigation shows that he owns the Porsche he was driving during the incident.

Biazon on Friday wondered how Elevado, who has been working at the BOC as an administrative aide for roughly a decade with a monthly income of over P9,000, could afford a luxury vehicle.

“I pulled out his records … his SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) is clean, which means there is little entry. That’s why I am doubting how he can have a Porsche, although it was registered under a different person,” he told reporters.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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