Solons say militarization of BOC ‘illegal’
Progressive lawmakers from the House Makabayan bloc rejected on Monday President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the military to take over the operations of the corruption-hit Bureau of Customs (BOC), branding it as “unconstitutional” and “illegal.”
In a speech during the thanksgiving party of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City on Sunday, Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would run the embattled agency while all of its employees were on floating status.
This came after the Customs faced another massive entry of shabu, which Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief Aaron Aquino now estimated at P11 billion from its initial assessment of P6.8 billion.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the Chief Executive’s move has no legal basis.
“Nasa martial law na ho ba ang Pilipinas? Ano’ng legal basis non? Malinaw naman sa ating Saligang-Batas, sinasabi doon… sa call out powers merong lawless violence, rebellion…,” Zarate said in a press briefing.
“Ang pagpupuslit ng droga, incompetence, corruption ng mga tauhan ni Pangulong Duterte are not lawless violence. There is already a de facto junta ngayon… Sa tingin natin ito ay hindi naaayon sa ating Saligang-Batas,” he added.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio backed Zarate’s arguments, stressing the constitutional principle of civilian supremacy over the military.
“Unconstitutional at illegal ‘yung ganung utos ni Pangulong Duterte. Malinaw naman ang basic principle sa Constitution, civilian supremacy at all times over the military,” Tinio said.
“‘Yung BOC malinaw na part of the civilian bureaucracy ito, hindi pwedeng basta-basta i-take over ng militar sa utos ng Presidente,” he continued.
For her part, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro pointed out that the real issue was the apparent “incompetence” of Duterte’s appointees who are former military men.
“Malinaw na ang isyu dito sa nangyayari sa BOC ay ang incompetence ng mga military na mismong inilagay ni Presidente Duterte,” she said.
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