Importer sues Customs employee for bribery

Posted in: Press Releases- Oct 13, 2011 Comments Off on Importer sues Customs employee for bribery

A CUSTOMS employee is now facing criminal and administrative charges after an importer, who he allegedly asked for bribe money, sought the help of the Finance department’s anti-corruption unit.

Flor Tagle, an import and export consultant for Prima Modas, Inc., has sued Paulino Elevado IV, an administrative aide at the Customs bureau, for violating Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, RA No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and direct bribery under the Revised Penal Code.

In her four-page complaint filed last Friday before the Ombudsman, Tagle detailed how Elevado denied the entry of Prima Modas’ shipment from China last March despite “favorable endorsement from the Office of the Commissioner.”

The shipment, the complaint said, contained gummed paper, hair accessories and men’s slippers, among others, passed the inspection conducted by the Customs’ Run After The Smugglers (RATS) program, and was cleared for release last March 28.

“When our papers were forwarded to the Office of the District Collector, Port of Manila, a certain Paulino Elevado met me in his office in said port and informed us that before our entry papers could get the endorsement of the district collector, we were required to give P200,000.00 or P100,000.00 without the snacks,” the complaint stated.

“The illegal demand made for grease money is quite big and has no legal basis, as such, our company did not agree. I pleaded for understanding, but he (Elevado) said ‘Kung wala ‘yung hinihingi ko, huwag na tayong mag-usap (If you cannot give the money I am asking, I will not talk to you anymore for the release of your shipment),” it added.

This was the point when Tagle sought the help of now Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who immediately referred her to the Department of Finance’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS).

RIPS conducted an investigation on the matter and found probable cause to charge Elevado “for trying to extort the sum of P200,000 in exchange for the signature of the district collector of Port of Manila.”

“This is a proof that with the public and the government working together, we can cleanse the bureaucracy of corrupt officials who think of nothing but how to take advantage of our people in order to fulfill their self-serving interests,” RIPS Executive Director Romeo D. Tomas, Jr. said.

He called on other people who have experienced similar corrupt practices as well as concerned citizens to come forward and seek the government’s help through the Pera ng Bayan Web site (www.perangbayan.com), where they can provide information anonymously.

RIPS has been filing cases against suspected corrupt revenue officials and employees since 2003 pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 259. As of today, the unit had already filed 88 cases against 129 individuals, 55 of whom were already suspended, while 20 were dismissed from service.

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