November 14, 2016 — Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered a lifestyle check on officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as part of the Duterte administration’s ongoing efforts to rid the agency of graft and corruption.
Dominguez also ordered a forensic analysis of data, including the possible opening of bank accounts linked to fraudulent or corrupt activities.
As an opening salvo, the BOC recently ordered the relief of Deputy Commissioner Arnel Alcaraz as officer-in-charge of its Enforcement Group after President Duterte said he wanted a certain Customs official suspended and removed from office for alleged corruption.
Alcaraz was replaced by Isabelo Tibayan III, the director of the Enforcement and Security Service.
Asked in a media interview how he would direct BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to achieve zero corruption at the bureau, Dominguez said:
I think it has to start at the top, good example at the top that people do not accept bribes or are clean. I think the leadership factor is important, (that’s) number one.”
Number two, we have to be smart about catching corrupt people. You cannot always catch them like, you know, playing cops and robbers. We have to catch them by …checking their lifestyle, checking their bank accounts, checking how many cars they own,” he added.
Dominguez said on top of conducting a lifestyle check on Customs officials, the Department of Finance (DOF) and its attached agencies would be doing a forensic analysis of data to expose corrupt officials, tax evaders and others involved in financial crimes.
“That’s why part of our legislative agenda is to make sure that the privacy laws on bank accounts will allow the government to look into the bank accounts of people that have very strong evidence of corruption or tax evasion,” he said.
“If we do not do that, we can hardly catch them. So we are going to ask the legislature to please… allow the government to look into the bank accounts of people suspected of corruption, tax evasion, and crimes like that,” he added.