'3 kings of Customs' moved out of ports
MANILA (UPDATE) – Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares on Friday confirmed reports that the so-called "3 Kings of Customs" have been moved out of Philippine ports and instead relegated to do policy research work.
The "3 kings" include the brother of House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, Ricardo Belmonte of Manila International Container Port (MICP).
The two others are Rogel Gatchalian of the Port of Manila, and Carlos So of the Customs office at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Henares said the three revenue collectors are now part of the newly created group called the Customs Policy Research Office, a think tank under the Department of Finance.
“They will no longer run those ports, they will be detailed to the CPRO, the Customs Policy Research Office…They will be helping doing research, data mining, looking at what’s happening in each sector,” she told ANC’s “News Now.”
The transfer comes two months after President Benigno Aquino III hit the Bureau of Customs and Commissioner Ruffy Biazon promised a reshuffle.
But according to Biazon, Level 5 and Level 6 collectors were not reshuffled and instead transferred to another government agency.
“It is more than a reshuffle because they are actually transferred to the Department of Finance, out of the Bureau of Customs. Instead of reassignment to another port, they are basically reassigned to another office,” he told ANC’s “Business Nightly.”
Biazon said a total of 27 collectors from major ports across the country were transferred.
Replacing them will be the division heads in the respective ports, added Biazon.
He also clarified that no charges have been filed against the so-called “3 kings.”
“There hasn’t been any accusation thrown at them other than the perception that they are untouchables. But that in itself wouldn’t warrant filing a case against them. But in the course of our review, if something comes up that warrants a filing of a case or investigation, then we are prepared to do that,” he said.