Are BOC and INC a crime syndicate? Why is Sen. Escudero so interested?

cargo-port manila rappler

Manila International Container Terminal [Photo credit: Rappler]

. . . in collaboration with caliphman

You know, when we don’t know the truth, but the fish are smelling funny and it is not Denmark, then we have to look around at the hints, the odors, the smoke, no matter how wispy. We need to align some sketchy evidence and make some deductions to draw a picture, because it is more believable and better than any information being given to us straight by the National Government or coming from incomplete and inclusive stories from newspapers and other media.

Yes, we are referring to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which once again has snagged the dubious distinction of being perceived by the public as the most corrupt government organization according to the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey. But it is not enough to state something that is so widely accepted by the Filipino people, and apparently by the government itself, including those high officials who have responsibility for overseeing it. Perhaps we should attempt to give flesh to what we can know and can deduce about institutionalized corruption at the BOC, that is in such stark and glaring contrast to the other successful accomplishments of this Administration’s Daang Matuwid program. When one considers that its twin agency, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), was also a den of corruption as deeply entrenched and publicly reviled as the BOC is now, and look at the miracle of transformation that has been accomplished there, then we can retain hope that it is still possible to remove the BOC blight on Daang Matuwid.

To those who might complain that this is so speculative that it is irresponsible to publish it, I would respond, even if it is fiction, it is more substantial than the information provided to the public today. Consider it a call for transparency from the Aquino Administration and people who are inserting themselves, such as Senator Escudero. Kindly tell us the straight story if these deductions are wrong. Don’t blame us for wanting corruption out of the Bureau of Customs.

If you are unaware of the background on the Sevilla resignation from BOC, please refer to the following article, as that will save me the time of rehashing what has been published already: Customs chief Sevilla quits Politics blamed; Lina back in BOC

Abbreviations: Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Justice (DOJ), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

Observation/Deduction #1. John Sevilla was under pressure as Commissioner of BOC. He denies he was removed, but it is evident he was doing his job well and making people nervous. Basis: His former and then current boss, Finance Secretary Purisiima, had this to say about his singular accomplishments. “He increased customs collections during his tenure by 21% while it only grew 5% in the year before he took charge. He also transformed BOC to the most radically open and transparent agency in the government.”

There is and was no legitimate, public-service reason to remove him or allow him to resign. What was Sevilla’s mission? The predecessor whom he replaced turned in his resignation after President Aquino in his 2013 SONA lambasted the extent of corruption at the BOC and denounced it as being perceived as the most corrupt agency in the government. Sevilla’s charter was to clean out that corruption, and from all reports and appearances, he had the track record, the competence, and was achieving great progress in achieving his mission. Yet, he is now gone.

The fact that his replacement was ready the day following his resignation suggests this was an orchestrated result. There can only be secret, probably political or self-serving reasons for this, as no explanation has been forthcoming that makes any sense.

Observation/Deduction #2a. BOC is a part of a Political Machine, a good old boy network of power, favor and impunity with top players reaching as far as President Aquino, Department of Finance Secretary Caesar Purisima, Executive Secretary Ochoa, and new Customs Head Alberto Lina. The INC leadership is a part of this club at some level. Basis: These officials had the power to appoint the head of the BOC’s Security Services agency over Sevilla’s objection, and they were intent upon doing that. This incited Mr. Sevilla to resign. Sevilla says INC exerted influence in the appointment, but acknowledges information comes to him from others and is unconfirmed.

Observation/Deduction#2b. At BOC, the tara protection and smuggling racket is a colossal Money Machine (tara is the payment of a fee by importers to cause BOC to “look the other way”). Basis: A tara payment per container runs about 80,000 pesos on average. There are 5,000 containers coming under BOC control every day! That is a potential fee base of 400 million pesos a day. Assuming a 360 day year, that’s almost 150 Billion pesos per year! It’s a brilliant business model. Shippers and importers are willing to pay this fee because their containers pass right through Customs without the delay of inspections. They pay duties based solely on declared value of goods, typically undervalued by at least 50%, and, whats more, the tara payment is recovered from customers or treated as part of the cost of doing business.

There were allegations by a rival party that a major reason why Sevilla quit was he was being asked to use this money machine to fund campaign expenses for the Liberal Party to the tune of 3 billion pesos. This would be ethically inconceivable for this squeaky clean former Goldman Sachs executive. The scheme has been denied by top Liberal Party officials so it is hard to give it any credence; but if it were true, its disclosure would deal a catastrophic blow to the Administration and the Liberal Party’s credibility.

So the question lingers and will persist in an environment lacking total candor: was Sevilla pressured over the issue of political appointments or being required to raise LP campaign funds using illegal tara proceeds?

Observation/Deduction #3. Iglisia ni Cristo has a direct working relationship with BOC and may be complicit in smuggling and the “tara” protection racket. Basis: Note the stridency of INC’s effort to keep the Department of Justice out of investigations into Church affairs. Sevilla also mentioned unverified reports of INC influence in appointments of staff.

Cases in point: (a) Ariel Nepomuceno, a suspected ringleader and organizer of the tara scams dating back 2006-2010, was backed by the INC to be appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement Services under Commissioner Lina (refer to an unverified NICA report, discussed later). (b) Atty. Teddy Raval, an INC member, was promoted to head of BOC Security and Customs police at the behest of the Church, in spite of Sevilla objection; the position is crucial to impounding and releasing containers and goods under BOC custody.

Observation/Deduction #4. BOC Commissioner Lina  – who brings with him questionable baggage as an ex BOC commissioner under President Arroyo (GMA) with deep conflicts of interest due to his ownership in logistics and software companies with close dealings with Customs  –  is defensive, or in denial, about corruption at BOC. He is the exact opposite of the straight-shooting Sevilla. Presumably, Lina was brought in because he was willing to play political ball. Basis: The new Commissioner is currently being sued for plunder by the winning bidder for BOC’s system software because Lina cancelled the contract; it turns out that one of the losing bidders was a software company owned by the Commissioner. The systems software was intended to assure transparent, non-corrupt customs processing. [Customs chief Lina, other ex-BOC officals face plunder charges”, GMA News]; [Lina, Parayno and Aguas charged for graft and plunder at Ombudsman”, Harry Roque];[Omniprime to file Motion for Preventive Suspension against BOC Lina . . .”, Harry Roque]

Both Finance Secretary Purisima and Lina had extensive dealings with each other as cabinet officials under GMA and in private business ventures.

Lina tried to institute the balikbayan inspections over strong criticisms from all sectors of the public and government. He was deaf to all complaints.

Lina’s response to his own Intelligence Chief’s’ public airing of lingering corruption problems in BOC was anger and reprimand, not concern for public welfare [“Dellosa says graft remains at Customs; Lina dares him to name names; ABS-CBN News]. Dellosa was appointed Deputy Commissioner under Sevilla and worked closely with him in instituting a merit-based and corruption-free awards and promotion system within BOC in an effort to reform the institutionalized culture of corruption.

Deduction #5. President Aquino is not complicit in BOC money games. Basis: He blasted BOC in his 2013 SONA. He quickly overturned Lina on the Balikbayan fiasco. Follow-up deduction: The President’s loyalty and trust in those close to him is being used by financial beneficiaries of BOC scams. Follow-up deduction: The Administration’s credibility for straight-path governance is seriously damaged. Follow-up deduction: Presidential aspirant Mar Roxas will pay a price as the continuing corruption at BOC serves as a vivid reminder of a failure of straight path governance.

Deduction #6. Senator Escudero is involved in some way, for political or personal gain. Basis: He is strident and out of order in his attack upon the DOJ for investigating the INC hostage-taking incident. He is a legislator undermining a law enforcement agency in favor of a special interest. He is named as an accomplice in the following “secret” NICA report about INC’s involvement with BOC. At the least, he is undermining DOJ to cater to INC’s bloc voting in support of his own Vice Presidential aspirations. Or he is more deeply engaged.

The “Secret” NICA report

What do we do if we have a report that is unverified but stunning in its revelations?Confidential report regarding corruption in the Bureau of Customs and involvement of Iglesia ni Cristo_0003

A “secret” NICA report has been available for 18 months, but is given no significant credibility because it is not officially released. A copy of this report was apparently in the files of INC top officials, being the official summary of an investigation ordered by the Administration to determine the links between the Church and corruption at BOC. This copy was scanned and published online by Minister Antonio Ebangelista in a series of whistleblower exposes of corruption by INC top officials. The report can be found at:  “And may the odds be forever in your favor. . .”

NICA is the Philippine version of America’s CIA  (Central Intelligence Agency). The subject report was published in April of 2014 and it explains how protection money and rice smuggling rackets are conducted. It implicates Senator Escudero and INC among others. The report is a cut and paste job, with typefaces not matching . . . as if fresh and un-edited from the secret agent’s mini-camera. Stolen in the middle of the night, as it were.

Transparency is needed to explain this report. Unless the INC ex-minister is interviewed by the NBI or some other public or private investigative agency or party, it cannot be held out as a true copy of an official document. Thus it is but the thinnest, and tiniest whiff of smoke from the proverbial smoking gun. However, its strongest claim to authenticity is its highly detailed description of the modus operandi used in the tara protection rackets and smuggling syndicates, as well as the names of the ringleaders, operatives, and beneficiaries within and outside the BOC. Moreover, it provides the names and positions of the BOC insiders interviewed in order to obtain the information included in the report. Any effort to verify the report’s authenticity would include simply contacting and securing affidavits from the interviewees detailing their involvement in preparing the report, the names and descriptions of the interviewers, and a list of who ordered and received copies of the report, in order to understand if there was a followup investigation, and if not, why not?  And if there was, what were the conclusions and what actions resulted from the investigations?

The Sevilla resignation and his citing of possible INC influence over positions also lends credibility to the report, and suggests a strange INC institutional influence in official government appointments  . . . for what possible purpose?

The details of the NICA document itself lend credence to its authenticity and point out some perplexing connections. Here are some excerpts:

  • Erdy Codera (aka: Ka Erds) Chief Political Affairs Officer of the INC; handles all political entanglements of the INC; primary liaison of the INC to the Philippine Government; close to Jerry Acuzar, Ka Jun Santos (INC CFO); Ka Erds pushed for making Real Bank of Jerry Acuzar as INC depository bank; Jerry Acuzar is the brother in law of ES Ochoa.
  • Francis Escudero (aka Chiz): Main beneficiary of the Alex Sy/Noel Mariano/Nepo payment scheme.
  • Tara may be defined as protection money paid by a cosignee and importer normally per container per week per port. . . . The tara ensures that “no alert” reports on the shipment or “no hit” on a particular importation would be made by BOC officials . . .
  • Accordingly, the distribution of the tara on per container basis is said to be as follows: Office of the Commissioner (OCom) – Php 10,000; Intelligence Group (IG) – Php 8,000; Post Entry Audit Group (PEAG) – Php 1,500; Assessment & Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) – Php 3,000 and collection districts at Php 8,000.
  • It appears that at the center of the tara scheme during Comm Biazon’s time, is Ariel Nepomuceno whose name was repeatedly mentioned by sources from both inside and outside the BOC. . . . He is former: (i) Staff of Senator Francis Escudero . . . He was appointed as Deputy Commissioner of BOC in November 2013.
  • Considering that the information which the Agency holds still lacks the legal foundation to hold water in the courts, it is recommended that the tara system in the BOC be referred to appropriate government investigative body (NBI or PNP).

The final whiff of smoke

Here is the complete text of a GMA News Online report of August 26, 2015 [Forwarder reveals details of Customs bribery system for balikbayan boxes]:

A freight forwarder has stepped forward and revealed that there was indeed a “tara” or bribery system they adhered to with the Bureau of Customs for the faster processing of balikbayan boxes in ports.

In a report from GMA’s “24 Oras” on Wednesday, Door to Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines chairman Ramon Ungco confirmed the supposed bribery system.

“Kailangan magbigay ka ng tara kasi kung hindi, hindi aasikasuhin ang papeles mo,” he said.

According to Ungco, they had to pay corrupt Customs officials around P40,000 to P85,000 for each container that had balikbayan boxes. He said the bribe depended on the size of the shipment.

“Kami naman, lalo na ako, magnenegosyo ako sa Pilipinas alam kong corrupt. Magtatara ako para bumilis lang. ‘Yan lang ang hinahabol namin kasi mga balikbayan yan,” he said.

Customs also recently increased taxes for containers from the US from P80,000 to P120,000.

“Okay lang sa akin taasan ‘yung tax up to P200,000 puwede kaya lang dapat bawasan niyo ‘yung tara niyo,” Ungco said.

Top Customs officials were not immediately available for comment as of posting time. The Bureau has come under fire from the public over a plan to do random physical inspections of balikbayan boxes. The plan has since been shelved.

No known follow-up report was done on this story, and no other news agencies appear to have reported the story.

“So what do you want, Joe?”

I’d like to see:

  1. Transparency. This was one of Sevilla’s main accomplishments in transforming BOC as an organization while he was there. Transparency seems nowhere to be found right now.
  2. A straight path for BOC.

Transparency ought not be just for financial information. It ought to cover information that affects the public’s trust in government officials. I believe citizens are entitled to know:

  1. Was the Sevilla resignation orchestrated by Sec. Purisima and Exec. Sec. Ochoa? On what basis? For what governmental purpose?
  2. How did it come to pass that Secretary Lina was available for service the day after the Sevilla resignation?
  3. Was INC influence brought to bear on official appointments within BOC? What were the circumstances and the results? What was given, what was received?
  4. Why is Sec Lina so defensive about corruption? Is he on the straight path or is he continuing the tradition of hiding misdeeds?
  5. Is DOJ investigating the NICA report or tara scheme? If not, why not.

I must say, my confidence in the Lina appointment is a hair above zero. He seems absolutely lacking in diplomacy and commitment to the straight path. Rather, he criticizes the critics, as do accused crooks.

I would also want to ask Senator Escudero:

  1. What legislative purpose is served by your criticism of DOJ in favor of INC?
  2. Which is more important to you, the coddling of special interests for the votes they may deliver, or the public interest and a well-respected rule of law?
  3. What is your reaction to the “secret” NICA report?

Is this all politics, I wonder? Both within the Administration and Escudero camps? Are they just getting ready for 2016? Courting INC? Public interest be damned?

It’s distasteful when the courting is done via an agency considered the most corrupt in the nation. Favors given and received can’t help but come with a huge stink attached.

What do I want? I want heads need to roll, but I’m confident it won’t be Purisima or Ochoa, as they are among the President’s most senior, valuable people. They anchor good government processes, perhaps while engaged in a bad one, a real stinkeroo. It is hard to terminate Lina given that Sevilla was pushed out to bring him in. So I don’t know whose head needs to roll.

Mar Roxas will pay the price, and that’s a pity. He gets attached to a straight path that is decidedly bent.

Mr. Aquino is in a box. I suspect his trust in subordinates has been misused, as it was with another guy named Purisima. If he does not cure this with firm and transparent acts, the straight path suffers a very heavy, heavy blow.

Post script:

If there is something wrong in someone’s life, the President is often held responsible for it. He’s our nation’s Daddy, the priest, the nurse, Mr. Fix it. Every complaint known to Filipino-kind ends up as the President’s desk, usually as blame. Never mind that the sitting President has done more for the nation than any other President since sliced bread.

So I think it is necessary for more objective, less personally involved, critics to consider what is a reasonable complaint, and what is not. Poverty is a problem not yet solved, but to lay blame for that on the desk of the President when it has been here since Aquinaldo is a little irrational. Congestion is a problem not yet solved, but when it is being caused by jobs and construction by a President who has the economy humming and more infrastructure-building going on since . . . well, sliced bread . . . then it is a little extreme to flip the good deeds inside out and slam them on the President’s desk as a complaint.

Now as to rulings and processes on roads and vehicles, or the inability of cities to agree on procedures, complain away. Just not to the President.

But what about legitimate complaints about the President, specifically? Should we hide from them because we don’t want to beat on a President who is beaten upon regularly?

No. We have to lay them on the table. For the lessons to be learned. We need to be coldly and honorably dispassionate.


328 Responses to “Are BOC and INC a crime syndicate? Why is Sen. Escudero so interested?”
  1. edgar lores says:


    • grammy2342 says:

      Made me dizzy and really rocked my boat….if true, what a tragic affair for the Philippines.

    • edgar lores says:

      I would like to add this article published by the Inquirer two years ago. It shows BOC shenanigans began a long time ago and implicates Erap:

      Disclosure: the author is an older sibling.

      • Joe America says:

        “Our continuing tragedy is that succeeding administrations remained partial to a Bureau of Customs with poorly maintained systems and elastic norms.”

        Right, and Commissioner Lina seems to be of that same thinking . . .

        • chempo says:

          Loved the Monsod interview. Lina was a slitherly Nagini ( Lord Voldemort’s snake in Harry Potter). I don’t know who he think he was kidding with all those obnoxious response to tough questions. He certainly did’nt fool the astute Monsod, and this viewer.

          • Joe America says:

            Slither, yes. He is just so . . . sooooo . . . not straight. What is he doing on the straight path? Makes no sense.

          • karl garcia says:

            His daughter lives just a stone’s throw away from my house,She might throw stones at my house. When I heard Bert Lina talk in the nineties he has solutions for just about anything traffick,garbage,economy I looked up to him then,but now I don’t know.
            like my disappointments with others I have met. i’ll charge it to experience.

      • karl garcia says:

        I was working for Asian Terminals during erap’s time and he assigned a stuntman extra bomber Moran to be his goon at south harbor. Part of my job description then was so Jurassic that I have to upload Inward forward manifests coming from the shipping lines to ATI’s system manually meaning I insert a diskette and copy it to our system Even with that routine job, shipping lines still gave me tips at first I refuse then a few months I began accepting the 20s the 500s until I requested our ITVP to automate the process to avoid temptation and I can no longer stomach it even if they say it is our culture.Email and file transfer would did the trick.
        Sidenote: South Harbor is where I met Benedict Ignacio also known as BenigN0 of GRP.
        He was a logistics guy. Who is now in OZ.

        • mercedes santos says:

          Nice to know, Karl. He could be that majordomo of cate blanchett, while she was being interviewed by NYT’s magazine, recently featured, with the harbor bridge in focus.

        • Joe America says:

          Most interesting side note regarding Benedict of Oz.

        • Harold says:

          Na alala ko na yan diskette na yan hahah!! Nag ppunta ako dyan sa pom Para mag pasa ng data file ko ng manifest. Nalimutan ko na name nung dalawang lalaki na nag papasok ng maifest dyan sa PoM. Sa mip tanda ko pa kung sino ai osang haha!! Ngayon yung isang lalaki sa manifest sa pom alam ko ngayon na asian terminals na sya sa vessel operation sa may shoc

          • karl garcia says:

            Bago mag ACOs sa BOC si Butch Payawal ang tumatanggap, mataas yata ang naging posisyon nya. pero nung dumerecho sa arrastre ang diskette nung ACOs na, sina Dante na ang tumatanggap tapos kinukuha ko .

      • Bobot Roldan says:

        The corruption in the BOC started to get worst under Marcos presidency even before martial law. appointment to the BOC became a political accommodation to Marcos alles and friends.

  2. Sumida says:

    has anyone seen the latest PDI online poll?

    “Who lost the most in the test of wills on Edsa over the weekend between the government and the Iglesia ni Cristo?”

    The anti-admin machinery is hard at work… until yesterday INC and the trapos took the top spots.. but things turned around overnight

    • Joe America says:

      They did. I want to write a little about how Govt handled INC. It was very well done.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      BOC is golden goose of INC. NBI is INC’s enforcer. Ever since, been posting that INC is a crime syndicate in connivance with government officials. INC crime spree worsen when Ka Eddie took over from Erano. It was the INC central committee who pushed for Eddie’s ascendancy to the throne because they know how to manipulate him. He was known playboy, car racer hanging out with the”high” crowd during his younger days. His wife silence is paid for her having control of central committee, more corrupt than Imelda. Her relatives live luxuriously.

      An old story during the golden years of quarrying under Gov Lito Lapid, INC syndicate profited from the quarry by putting their high minister as Lapid’s trusted and bag man. This man suddenly died and the money disappeared because they were deposited in INC bank accounts as money laundering conduits. Rumor is that the land, Ciudad Victoria, where INC Philippine Arena and Stadium are located, quarry funds were used to buy the land and costs of construction came from BOC loot. Lapid was investigated by Ombudsman about quarry corruption but since the funds were untraceable and thru INC influence, he was acquitted by Sandigan.The reason Lapid is corrageous to run for office anywhere is his confidence that INC vote is his base. Remember that GMA asked him to run for Makati mayor against Binay with that INC vote assured, but Binay has Ghosts all over Makati entrenched.

      Since Aquino took office, BOC needed only one solution to rid corruption.
      Total computerization in all ports with one central terminal.
      Sevilla was in the middle of that achievement until he was forced out.

      BOC officials, employees, members of Congress, high ranking executives from Malacanang and Finance plus INC crime syndicate headed by a deputy commissioner who lives in a mansion inside Fort Bonifacio conspired to oust Sevilla to derail computerization.

      This syndicate play is to cover 3 bases.
      Binay is corrupt, that’s the easy part thru Ochoa and INC
      Poe is clasped by Escudero and Ongpin as financier.
      Roxas election fund thru Purisima/Lina resources.

      Aquino blindsided by his friends again
      It’s always fun in the Philippines.

      • karl garcia says:

        Matagal ng automated ang BOC kaya lang puro IBM, ibalik sa manual tuwing me pagkakataon.
        My example of uploading IFMs could have been automated years hence if they wanted to,but no sense of urgency adds to red tape.

        • Johnny Lin says:

          Kahit saan govt agency ang gawa nila sa computer sinisira intentionally para mag manual.
          Saka walang central terminal to upload data anywhere, anytime within the department.

          Sa BIR ang negosyante sa Pasay ang business source, hindi pwede magbayad ng BIR monthly tax remittance sa bank sa Manila, kailangan banks lamang sa Pasay ang tatanggapin ng BIR Regional Pasay office. Ganun yung mga bank computers centralized all over the Philippines. Bakit? Kasi hindi sila makakakotong sa negosyante at Dayain at magnakaw ang binayad tax so government dahil kasabwat ang local bank managers. Ang gawa sa BIR, Parating out of line yung tax payment sa BIR dahil sinisira ng BIR employees ang connection.

          Kung matino Si Henares ang gawin nya kahit saan bank ng Pilipinas pwede magbayad ng tax ang negosyante at taxpayers. Total lahat ng pera pupunta sa national treasury. Pero di magawa ni Henares dahil isa sabotage siya ng mga regional directors dahil mawawala bread and butter nila sa pagnanakaw.

          • Let’s petition BIR Kim Henares via their website that we taxpayers be allowed to pay in any BIR accredited banks outside of the respective RDOs. I inquired about this from a UCPB branch, to make it easy for us to pay here at BGC for our corporations located in Pasig, Quezon City, Manila and Taguig. No can do per a BIR circular….hmmmmmm…

        • edgar lores says:


          Automated, yes, but not with the correct comprehensive import supervision system?

          • karl garcia says:

            I know you are the IT expert but Johnny Lin’s example for the BIR above tells the story . Import and export supervision are done electronically. We have online release system for years,but stories of josephivo of 20,000 per container still happens.
            Still we hear stories that JPE controls the imports of rice,cars,etc. and he is only one of them.
            Years ago, UNCTAD introduced the Automated Customs Operating Systems or ACOS with ASYCUDA as its core. I believe until now this is the norm.

            • Fellas,

              This looks like a really interesting conversation, only hidden in Tagalog and unfamiliar acronyms. Can you guys break it down for me, Google translate really sucks.


              I echo chempo‘s concern below with this particular blog. This is getting into some really shady stuff now. Keep your wits about you (I still gotta turn in my article–after the 3-day weekend–and have you edit).

              But you do make investigative reporting sexy again. I just watched this on HBO today,

              • karl garcia says:

                lance corporal x, hello.

                the tagalog conversation of Johnny and my self discusses what usually happens to IT systems of government agencies .people get to get around the system and do things manually and it happens all over.Johnny told me how it happens at the BIR our IRS.

                In customs custom clearance and other documents can still be faked, containers still exit the port for a fee,etc Even with computers. The predecessor of the current Commissioner was about to implement A full blast computerization,until he was ‘let go”.

                Don’t worry about the other jargon.

              • karl,

                Thanks. If this whole tara scheme is simply for fast-tracking (ie. if you pay this amount, we’ll fast track it), why not just institute a class system–economy, business & first (and make it official)?

                Actual smuggling is harder to catch, but with police, coast guard and other agencies, it’s a very healthy cat & mouse game–involving informants as well as state-of-the-art technology. Redundancy is key.

                “Even with computers.” How about cameras? HD, streaming live cameras? If sabotage is a problem, how about balloons,

              • karl garcia says:

                cctvs are there. the port operator takes care of that .
                The biggest money maker is oil smuggling how can you monitor that it happens few hundred meters away.Chiz dug his nose into this once upon a time.Maybe he lived happily ever after.

                Xrays are there.
                gps to track the trucks.
                vts for marine traffick(might solve oil smuggling)
                implementation is lacking.

                cat and mouse:correct= misdeclarations,technical smuggling,etc.

              • karl garcia says:

                On oil smuggling and Chiz Escudero.


                Press Release
                April 3, 2013


                The blame for widespread oil smuggling in the country that costs the government P30 billion in lost revenues every year should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Bureau of Customs (BoC), underlining the need to overhaul the agency, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.
                What happened after the press release?

              • karl garcia says:

                An overhaul did happen and the former commissioner took over for a while and the rest is history… oops not yet.

        • Sup says:

          Johnny Lin, Ciudad Victoria ownwd by Acuzar….

        • Joe America says:

          “Page unavailable” message for this link.

          • karl garcia says:

            hard to link pdf from senate site.

            I had to copy everything up to the !..pdf then paste it to the address bar.

            • karl garcia says:

              WHEREAS, Republic Act No. 9593, otherwise known as the “Tourism Act of
              2009,” declares it a policy of the State to conserve and promote Filipino heritage;
              WHEREAS, the ingenuity of Architect Jose “Gerry” Acuzar has paved the way to
              the development of Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar in Bagac, Bataan, a Filipino cultural
              heritage resort where several 18th to early 20th century Philippine houses from different
              parts of the country have been rebuilt;
              WHEREAS, Las Casas Filipinas de Azucar serves as a reminder and, a lesson to
              both local and foreign· guests about the beauty of old Philippine architecture;·
              WHEREAS, the resort also hosts cultural shows highlighting Filipino folk dances
              and traditional music to enhance appreciation and promotion of Filipino culture for all its
              WHEREAS, it is the vision of Architect Acuzar which has allowed for the
              preservation of Philippine architecture and the promotion of Filipino culture through the
              establishment of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar;
              RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Philippine Senate
              commends Architect Jose “Gerry” Acuzar for establishing the heritage resort Las Casas
              Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan thereby promoting the richness and enduring
              value of Filipino culture and history.
              “LITO” M. LAP!BJ
              Senator (“

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    I hope Messrs Danilo Lim, Sunny Sevilla and Ruffy Biazon get to read this and react.

    Just my attempt to provide a very broad perspective under which this is all happening:

    There are really not enough good men in this country. If there was only a way to determine a person’s integrity the way you check for his blood sugar (ha ha) , for example, I am confident majority of Filipinos will not pass. Perhaps 6 or 7 out of 10 will fail. This, despite the high levels of religiosity displayed here.

    The few who are good has to pick its battles, otherwise it will not be able to function at all! Staffing the hundreds of thousands of positions in government will mean that huge swathes of the bureaucracy will lack integrity. And let’s not forget that corruption in the private sector also exists.

    Lee Kuan Yew’s success in Singapore in my view was to a large extent based on culture, and that is something so difficult to alter here to achieve low levels of corruption.

    • Joe America says:

      It would be good to get some authoritative reactions, I agree. Marcos for sure did the nation no favors, making it every person for himself.

    • chempo says:

      When Danilo Lim quit BOC it was obvious something was very very wrong. A strong man, the kind that leads military coup, surrendered his post to what he alluded to as very high powerful forces at work there, Shame on Philippines that nobody – executives, investigative journalists, legislatives — nobody batted an eyelid then.

  4. josephivo says:

    When I had my stuff (1/4 of a container) send from Europe, I had to pay 20,000 peso extra to “lift the container over the fence”. If not it might take 6 months and heavy import duties. So I happily paid the 20,000 and got my stuff in 6 weeks time, door to door.

    5000 containers a day, that’s a lot of people too paying tara. Most of them will find this story very plausible. It makes the indignation for the extra controls on OFW boxes very understandable: containers can pass, boxes cannot.

  5. karl garcia says:

    I got the privilege to meet Gen. Lim the other day for the first time.
    Ruffy is the son of my boss Congress man Biazon so upon hearing the SONA 2013 feeling ko parang nilaglag sya at unfair,but if the former commissioner took it like a man sino ako para umangal.

  6. andrewlim8 says:

    Try this portrait of the insides of a Customs man’s mind. The “Inside Out” version of the inner workings of the brain of a corrupt official:

    “Well, it’s a victimless crime. Nobody really gets hurt, anyway. Those guys are rich anyway, and facilitating the faster release of their goods is just part of the cost of doing business. In any case, the money I make goes back to the economy, since I use it to buy houses, cars, jewelry for my wife and girlfriend, food, etc. Hey, I have kids in private school. And it costs an arm and a leg these days to get a kid properly educated, specially in the private, sectarian way. Isn’t family the end-all and be-all of everything? Anything for my family. ”

    “In any case, my conscience knows I’m doing wrong. But there’s always a way out, there always is. The thief who got crucified beside Jesus was forgiven at the last moment. I’m entitled to that, too as long as I ask for it. So that means the timing of my conversion is crucial. I will delay it to the last possible moment, after milking my existence out of all the money I can make, even if illegal. Heck, even women who had abortions are now forgiven, ask the Pope, Everybody’s happy at the end of this movie. Everybody gets forgiven! Hallelujah! Life is like Disneyland whether here on earth, or in the hereafter.”

    How does that sound? Plausible, yes? 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      I’d say you nailed it. More than plausible. All that money flying about, I work hard, I should win the lotto, too.

      • Joe America says:

        Getting a job in Customs is probably like winning the lotto, now that I reflect on it. They probably high-five one another, and all have defective eyes from winking at one another as they process the bogus paperwork.

        • andrewlim8 says:

          As a summary, in that mini-portrait I made these elements stand out:

          1. “victimless” crime – but it is not!
          2. love of family is used as justification
          3. the economy still benefits, since I spend the illegal income here
          4. the false confidence that everything can be forgiven and no one goes to hell

          I just want to point out that the corrupt in this country are not hard core atheists or barbarians. They are just like most of us, outwardly religious even, but have found a way to delude themselves, with their “elastic” norms.

    • Juana says:

      I think it is high time to subject ALL BOC employees to lifestyle checks.
      Remember the porsche driving BOC clerk? There are other similar cases and probably more if their SALNs are scrutinized against their lifestyle.

      • Joe America says:

        Excellent idea. Start with Executive Secretary Ochoa maybe, and work down.

        • karl garcia says:

          Lifestyle checks and audits.
          COA can’t do it alone, who wlll they outsource it to?
          After that ombudsman also spread too thin by gargantuan cases.
          Then Sandigan with an average of 20 years per case( a wild guess).

          • Joe America says:

            I’d start with the top 10 in BOC. Then follow the stink downward.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Most prevalent crooks in govt are LGUs and local COAs, Regional Ombudsman reps.

            Corruption Cancer is ingrained in Filipino culture.
            Massive cleanup must be implemented.

            Maybe, one time offer of general amnesty to allcrooks in government including politicians. Report all unexplained wealth at one time. Resign from office without prosecution but after amnesty all unexplain wealth and corrupt practices is punishable by firing squad, set example immediately to prevent abuse of system. Duterte is best suited for this.

            Start all over by eliminating all bad seeds with examples.

            • The idea of a one-time amnesty was floated by me some time ago – because the cancer runs so deep that everybody involved in corruption will do what they can to hide things. Money can also be earned by promoting a better economy, but old habits die hard.

              One-time amnesty on condition that a flat tax is paid on the ill-gotten wealth and that ALL ill-gotten wealth must be fully enumerated, or else the amnesty may be revoked. Inspite of amnesty, institute a lifelong ban on public office or candidacy for all persons involved. If you leave them enough money, they can do business with it and still have a relatively good life, but letting them back into public office will only cause the cancer to return.

              Firing squad I would not do after the one-time amnesty – I would suggest the ill-gotten wealth be returned fully to the government with compound interest on it, plus social work, ideally in urban poor areas so that they see the kind of life that so many Filipinos lead.

    • Andrew, what if he dies in his sleep without his chance for the timing of his conversion that he thinks is crucial. He will delay it to the last possible moment, after milking his existence out of all the money he can make, even if illegal.

      The Parable of the Rich Fool is a parable of Jesus which appears in only one of the Canonical gospels of the New Testament. According to Luke 12:13-21, the parable reflects the foolishness of attaching too much importance to wealth.

      The rich farmer in this parable is portrayed negatively, as an example of greed. the farmer was “planning to fill his soul with excessive and unnecessary feasting and was proudly disregarding all those empty bellies of the poor. He did not realize that the bellies of the poor were much safer storerooms than his barns.” not knowing he will die during the night.

      He is driven by acquiring them — can so easily end up unaware of the call of God and the need of the neighbor.”

      The farmer’s foolishness lies particularly in the fact that wealth cannot guarantee the future: the Day of Judgment arrives sooner than he expects.

      The Customs man and the farmer in the parable share the same trait – greed.

      Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

    • neo canjeca says:

      HUH? How is that again: In this part of Ph blog history. Better than Tales from Decameron huh? Tales from Scavengers (not you Andrew)? This truth NOT from the Bayawaks who feast on rigor mortis but from ghost crusaders with the plasma of El Cid, descendants of noble Don Quixote and peon Sancho. Like films piracy is not a victimless crime. Wow. Never heard of the Ten Commandments in a country of about 80 million Catholics. “Thou shalt not steal” is a moron’s victimless yarn? Make no mistake, I blame no one here who, with integrity and candor open their hearts for everyone to see, to wish and ultimately do good to their country and kababayans. Joe Am and every one here: BRING IT ON, BRING IT ON, Hear? Even evil will be yelling to save their soulless souls.

  7. Micha says:

    Why is Pres. Aquino not firing Commissioner Bert Lina yet?

  8. Juana Pilipinas says:

    “…what about legitimate complaints about the President, specifically? Should we hide from them because we don’t want to beat on a President who is beaten upon regularly?

    No. We have to lay them on the table. For the lessons to be learned. We need to be coldly and honorably dispassionate.”

    Well said, Joe.

    I admire your candidness and integrity.

    Someone needs to speak up when those around seem to silently tolerate wrongdoing.
    Someone needs to make a stand when no one will.
    Thank you for caring enough to do the right thing.

  9. Joe America says:

    The following comment cam across Facebook, lining up some of the characters:

    Connections: ES Ochoa & Chiz Escudero are proponents of Noy-Bi tandem in the last election; Jerry Acuzar, bro-in-law of Ochoa, has business connection with INC thru Minister Codera and is the builder of INC’s Phil Arena; Escudero has links with BOC thru Ariel Nepomuceno; BOC internal politics linked with INC importations thru Nepomuceno & Atty Raval, an INC member; Escudero seen as master manipulator of Grace Poe for the presidency; Poe, Escudero & Binay sucking up to INC for votes; Poe, Escudero, Binay & Ochoa have an alleged personal & political alliances. Whew! John Grisham’s books are boring compared to these web of connections!

    If true, INC is not a cult but a mafia organization. Let us not vote any of those people mentioned. The plot reads like a horror story leading to an apocalyptic ending to our democratic way of life,

    • Bert says:

      But, isn’t it said also that this BOC-MAFIA connection was established to fund the presidential campaign of LP/Mar Roxas? If true, who do we have to vote now?

      • Joe America says:

        That’s in the article, with great skepticism attached. More likely it is one of Binay’s creations, like that Roxas is responsible for the floods in Manila. Building a city in a flood plain and pasting cement over the green belts has nothing to do with it. “Roxas did it” is the Binay campaign slogan.

  10. bgie says:

    huh.. this is mind-boggling… hoping and praying that things will fall into place…. though it sounds like impossible and hopeless but still hopeful that this chain of corruption will be broken. I pray for the people behind this blog.

  11. Bert says:

    “It would be good to get some authoritative reactions, I agree. Marcos for sure did the nation no favors, making it every person for himself.”—-Joe

    Okay, Joe. What about this: Let’s vote a president with inclination to establish a Revolutionary government and kills criminals, ahahahahaha.

  12. surfer sison says:

    now i understand why Atty. Manuel Eduarte, chief of the NBI-Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division ( with great initiative and working beyond the call of duty ) took it upon himself to declare the case between INC and the estranged Manalo mother and sibling as ” case closed”

    seems like this NBI guy thinks INC is possibly Organized Transnational Crime syndicate ?


    • Joe America says:

      Strange church, for sure. Seems to ignore right and wrong. Very earthly place.

    • Re posting this as appropriate response to your post and link

      Iglesia Ni Cristo – Silent No More by Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista – a minister of INC

      August 27, 2015

      “Brethren, it is not the Church that is being subpoenaed by the Dept of Justice (DOJ). The subpoenas are for the individual members of the corrupt Sangunian (church council). Let’s call on them to face their case at the DOJ and stop spreading the lies that Bro. EVM will be arrested or that the government is against us. Let’s think hard about this brethren. Don’t allow ourselves to be used by them. They want to hide behind us to avoid facing the charges against them. Because the case is strong and valid against them, they are very scared and are deceiving the innocent brethren with lies that the government is fighting the Church. Please pass to all brethren.”

      The Dept. of Justice of the Philippines is currently trying to deliver subpoenas to members of the Sangunian based on highly valid evidence submitted to them. This evidence is so sensitive that it warrants attention from the Judicial branch of the Philippine government. No laws were manipulated to conduct this procedure.

      How did the Sangunian react to this? They continuously used the lessons to spread propaganda to claim their innocence and present themselves as ‘victims’ of persecution. They claim that the ‘illegal detention’ that was conducted on the ministers was strictly an internal matter. To make matters worse, they are inciting the brethren to a government rebellion by calling them to arms to ‘fight for their faith’ in EDSA.

      It is very important to emphasize that the DOJ is not addressing an internal Church matter. The DOJ is addressing laws of the land that have been violated and further investigations have deemed these issues under their jurisdiction. For many months now, the Sangunian has been claiming that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to their corruption. Up to this point they are continuing to quote verses from the bible to explain themselves. But as our Lord Jesus said in Mark 12:17 “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” The Sangunian may have been able to exploit their ranks in the Church to protect themselves from judgment of the brethren BUT it stops there. There is no verse in the Holy Bible that can erase the evidence and crimes committed before the laws of the Land. The Sangunian may not be forced to answer to the brethren but they are by law required to answer to the government.

      Brethren… Isn’t this the moment we have been waiting for? Many of us have given the Sangunian the benefit of the doubt because THEY CLAIMED THERE WAS NO VALID PROOF. Contrary to the popular belief propagated by the Sangunian, THERE IS EVIDENCE and it has been submitted to the Philippine Government. As leaders of the country, it is not only the duty of the Philippine Government to the people, but it is also their right to investigate valid claims filed by citizens of the Philippines to find out if laws have been broken.

      This looming issue of the credibility of the current Administration lies on this investigation. If you really love and care for the Church, then you should allow the truth to come out once and for all. Our faith has always been based on TRUTH. We serve God and not man. It is our duty and right to protect the Church from all forms of harm. In this case harm that may have been inflicted by the Sangunian. Let’s allow the TRUTH TO PREVAIL. If the truth vindicates or indicts the SANGUNIAN, then let’s find out once and for all. This is the true FIGHT for our FAITH, brethren. Our duty to God and to the Church is to defend the TRUTH, so let’s fight for the TRUTH to be revealed.

      We have been taught to entrust everything to God. What if this is God’s will to finally answer all the doubts and questions we all have? What if God is using the Philippine Government to reveal these truths to us. Brethren, the government is not our enemy, the devil is. Let’s support due process and let God’s will be made known.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Duarte was ordered investigated by DeLima. That’s the other untold angle why DeLima was blamed by INC. Since INC’s NBI Director was forced out by DeLima plus this latest attack on INC influence NBI, INC central committee decided to flex its muscle with the protest call, not realizing it would backfire on them. They did not realize that within their own membership, their influence is fading. Besides their public spokesperson Zabala was very poor in communicating.

      Speaking of spokesperson, grapevine whispers that Toby Tiangco was the cause of the rift between Erap and Binay on his initial attack on Poe’s residency/citizenship status. Toby was sidelined by Binay, taken over by ANA Salgado but damage has been done.

  13. chempo says:

    Well done Joe. This is different from all your previous blogs. You are sitting on a gunpowder keg. Watch your back, this is Philippines after all.

    This is a story of much more than corruption. It is an evil conspiracy, dark and sinister. It reminds me of the Vatican Bank and the bunch of corrupt Church officials.

    The BOC is a “treasure trove” for investigative journalist and all these years I have been waiting for someone to report on these sheenigans in a real exhaustive way. What a shame it needed a foreigner (and thanks to Calipman too) to open this up for discussion.

    The inclusion of Chiz is a real surprise for me. I always look for “intent” whenever someone says something. So now I know where Chiz was going when he made those comments about the INC rally. Real slimy. I think Poe is a nice person and she may most likely be unwary of Chiz’s sideline with INC. If she is privy to this knowledge, then she is not worthy of people’s vote. If she now knows the situation and still keeps him close, then she is definitely unworthy.

    I sincerely hope like you said, Pnoy was sidelined by his closest associates big-time. If this is the case, Pnoy can still turn the situation around by taking extremely tough measures. Let the heads roll. And take this opportune time with INC at its weakest to unravel the satanic beast that cloaks itself in God’s glory. But I fear that he does not have such strength when it comes to friends.

    If Pnoy is privy to the whole mess, it is even more important that the matter be persued and everything be exposed.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Don’t forget Lucio Co and his operatives in BOC.
      Big syndicate earnings from goods for Puregold and S&R

    • josephivo says:

      And this is just an outsider, a Kano. What about those in the know? Enrile, Lacson, Ramos and other former heads of police, all senior NBI officials, all senior BOC officials, party leaders, senior investigative journalists… thousands and thousands of tara beneficiaries and contributors. All so naïve, so incompetent or so involved?

      Some banks were too big to fail, is this just another informal bank that is too big?

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Banking system in the Philippines is another big untouchable crime syndicate preying on small fry consumers. ATM fees had been unregulated, banks freely attaching fees to detriment of poor Filipinos especially OFWS.


        BEFORE OFWS can withdraw maximum of 50,000 per day from their bank account in ATMS depending and controlled by status of OFW foreign bank account. Maximum withdrawal was 25,000 with 200 pesos ATM fee per withdrawal for 2x per day.

        Wily bankers, blaming AMLA law reduced that to 10,000 maximum withdrawal with the same amount of fees per any amount of withdrawal. Thus if OFW is allowed to withdraw 50,000 per day by his foreign bank he has to shell out 1000 pesos of ATM fee now compared to 400 pesos before. It could not be blamed from AMLA because the foreign account has strict monitor on the foreign bank of OFW. it’s the way of fleecing by local banks on hard earned foreign money of OFW. It’s also a way of forcing OFW to use banks remittance centers with high fees and discourage ATM use with low fees before.
        Bank owners are crooks too, stealing legally by manipulating the system. Congress could do something but they won’t because the members are bribed by the banks in many ways.

        Even local users of ATM are fleeced by the bank with high ATM fees if used frequently.
        Get a car loan from local banks and their interest fees are too high thru car dealers. Since interest rate charges are unregulated by BSP, banks knowing that anti trust law is non existent in the Philippines, they abuse the system unabashedly.

        • Joe America says:

          I was just thinking last night that I need to do an article on banking. It is a money machine, for sure, the way it is played here. ATM fees for foreigners were also raised to ridiculous amounts. I no longer use my card here as a way to bring money across.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Try depositing your american bank check on your dollar account in Philippine bank. You will be charged a fee by the bank. Why. It’s your money and the bank has a free use of your money for 30 days.

            That’s right. Banks would not release your check deposit for 30 days while they get their remittance wiithin one week from your bank because your check clears in 48 hours due to faster internet banking connection worldwide.

            Meaning your bank parks your money in their account for 30 days and if the bank goes under within that 30 days, your money has been withdrawn from your American bank and you don’t have any proof that it’s posted in your local bank dollar account because the bank is closed and your passbook has no record of your deposit yet.

            30 days has been the standard before Internet banking. Despite, fasterbankingtransaction worldwide, Bagko Sental ng Pilipinas did not oblige banks to reduce 30 days to say 10-15 days.

            Why? Crook officials in BSP too. They get bribed by the bankers.

          • chempo says:

            Joe, article on banking would be fun. But I think a more complicated and important area to look into first is the real estate industry. It may be another explosive area. Try to demystify the industry.
            – Every real estate developer declaring booming sales, P&L is so rosy. But look at all those empty residential condos. Look at how they are forced to operate condotels to monetise hugh unsold inventories. Look at why operating units which are listed entities transfer their unsold inventories to their holding entities. Look at how big groups with banking and real estate develop entities move their inventories and cash around
            – More importantly, look at the roles of Pag-Ibig, HLURB and the Home Guaranty Corp, How the process is complicated and easily abused. How de Castro (GMA’s VP) who chairs the Home Devt Mutual Fund, when querried about the Globe Asiatique Realty mess said “I did’nt know about it – nobody told me anything about it” — in other words he was a dumb-ass chairman.

            You will find the industry is much padded up, the inventories are off the hands of developer entities and financial institutions, and some govt entity is holding the baby. Sooner or later, somethings gotta give and it will be bigger than the BOC/INC bomb. Who ultimately carries the baby when the crash comes.

            I mentioned somewhere, Philippines has a penchant for doing things in very complicated ways.

            And to Mary who ask me to throw some light on the China equity market crash. It’s all about too much liquidity after a spell of excellent growth. No country has ever showed a way to tame liquidity in the economy. To much liquidity leads to too much credit, leads to boom in equity market, leads to boom in real estate and car sales and easy credit card approvals. Consumer spending goes up and malls report great profits. Sooner or later inflation is up and cost of living goes up. Govt tries to tame inflation by hiking interest rates. That cools the markets, but handled wrongly in terms of timing and cooling pressures, and most importantly, market perceptions get worked up, a crash will occur as panic selling sets in. A sign of the time that market is heating up to fast is normally when car sales boom and retail players flock to the stock exchange. Do you think Phils is primed for a reality check? If Joe goes for the real estate article, he just might reveal a big hole somewhere.

        • chempo says:

          You are referring to foreign ATM cards, of which I’m also affected. You are right about the Php10,000 withdrawal limit per transaction with Php200 fee. That works out to a 2% transaction fee which is exhorbitant. We get wacked with another fee by the foreign bank side which is fair but because of the restricted Php10,000 transaction limit we are not spreading our foreign bank cost to a bigger withdrawal sum. Thus the OFW’s transaction is much higher than 2%, it can in fact be up to 6%. Now that is crippling.

          Try going for a legitimate credit facility. There is a para system also. You get a P10 million loan but cash out maybe P9mm. Who shares in the P1mm — credit managers + I’m sure bank owners.

          Think about it. It exists in insurance companies too. My personal experience. Payout from your claims — you agree to a para sum first.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Your talking about your insurance experience in the Phiippines.
            Try claiming your bank deposit from PDIC if your bank went bankrupt which in the Philippines so many rural banks have done so. those PDIC personnel are victimizing again the victims of the bank they regulate.

            Been saying, corruption is now a Filipino culture, no longer limited to government, has creeped into private businesses. That is shaming children of corrupt should be SOP so the children would not follow the lead of parents.

            • “Try claiming your bank deposit from PDIC if your bank went bankrupt which in the Philippines so many rural banks have done so. those PDIC personnel are victimizing again the victims of the bank they regulate.”

              Yep, when I see people in tears because they could not get back their life savings or educational insurance fund from banks that went bankrupt I almost weep in sympathy too. Those poor people. That’s why I warn my aunt and other relatives to bank only with the depository bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) or if one is not available, at least with top 5 of them.

              Spread your deposits with the top 5 banks, 500K maximum each insured by PDIC, the rest with LBP even in billions. The depository bank of the government will never go bankrupt, would it?

          • What I know is that if you withdraw from an ATM of your depository bank branch, there is no ATM fee. I make it a point to just withdraw from there, no problem. If I need more than the daily limit per day, I go to the bank at exactly 8:59 to be the first in line and I withdraw over the counter. Since they know me, I can withdraw even up to 200K at any given time. They’re the ones who pay me by way of interest income rather the other way around hahaha.

            I don’t pay any fee from any bank, even with my credit card. My annual fee is waived for life, no interest in my monthly payments as I pay in full what is due.

            I’m the number one spendthrift in town, I take home cooked mills and snacks at the office, make monthly groceries buy whole sale and not at sari sari stores or convenient stores that charge 300% higher. I also hate 5-6 loan sharks and had to bail out family members to save them from usurious interest. I practice recycling in every possible way. I buy only second hand books or download free e-books to support my vice – being a bookworm.

            Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.. The Americanized version of it would be “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Looks like it was originally attributed to a man named William Lowndes back in the 1700s.

            Take care of the centavos and the pesos will take care of themselves, Pinoy version.

            I can hear it…. “e di wow!” hahaha!

            • spendthrift in the reverse, I mean

              • neo canjeca says:

                Holy Maria, goodness Gracious, in you must be the re-incarnated soul of Adam Smith. Please write if you haven’t yet — a book about how you do it.

              • Neo, frugal living is my motto. I splurge once in a while when malling with the family. Bonding while eating and playing. Enjoying life….sometimes.

                Trying hard to make it a habit – 80/20… 80 spend 20 ….not consistently though, too many poor relations who need financial assistance.

                I dared a family member, read this blog and raissa’s….dared me back, I have to support a pyramid scheme, my 5K will be made 25k in a month…ewww..I say…if you want to say goodbye to your money, then go ahead, I will never join. But I pinned the blog site in her lap top….just in case

              • edgar lores says:

                Mary, ah, salvation by austerity!

              • Going to malls with the family, taking them with me on company outings, making convoy out of town trips for a week as gas is cheaper nowadays….life is good, then back to frugal lifestyle again, not depriving oneself but spending wisely within our means, that’s how it is for me. Is that salvation by austerity? Ahh…nice. It feels nice when spending and sharing money you earned from honest labor.

            • chempo says:

              Mary local ATM cards are OK. It’s the foreign ATM cards. The OFW’s coming back home from holidays access their funds from ATM in Phils. They don’t bring back funds with them for 3 reasons:
              – Security reasons — leaving NAAIA they are prey to hoods in taxis
              – Can’t have too much cash on you leaving the host country (cash restriction or security)
              – Their employers credit their salary into their host country bank a/c whilst they are alreaady here in Phils.

              • True…my nephew who works in Dubai withdraws from the branch here, HSBC, I think, same with my sister who is based in HK…I did not hear them complain…maybe they just hid their frutrations well.

                Telegraphic transfers are way too costly, too whether in pesos or in dollars. For local transfers, I advised my househelp to open their ATM account here in Metro Manila so she can deposit without the fees, for withdrawal there in Davao.. The ATM card was picked up here by her kids when they visited her.

            • Aaarrgh…home cooked meals, not mills…gotta sleep eyes are failng me now…

          • caliphman says:

            What is being said about exorbitant bank fees for Filipinos are true on a global scale for almost everyone in almost every country. The simple explanation is that banks have not been able to earn most of their income the classical way, which is to borrow money at a lower rate and lend it out at a higher rate. The reason being that with quantitative easing policies in place almost everywhere and low growth globally except for the sputtering China economy, there was also low demand for money…and yes, oil. So banks try and make up for it in fee income including credit card , ATM, and transaction fees. So its not only OFW’s that are whacked a 5% foreign exchange transaction fee by the bank issuing their credit card or debit card, nevermind other collateral fees, it happens everywhere and to everyone which is not to say it does not suck and should be disclosed or regulated.

            The corruption at the BOC is a uniquely different story from what is going on in the banking and real estate industries, which are kind of related in that the latter is fueled by very low yields in other investments. It has been suggested here that automation is a possible solution to reduce opportunities for corruption and to transform operations and processing to performance and efficiency standards comparable to Hongkong, Singapore and other world class customs organizations. The BOC is not just a service function but it serves as the second biggest source of revenue for the government after the BIR with its income tax collections. The tara syndicates are funneling about 200 billion pesos into private pockets and depriving public coffers of at least another 200 billion from undutied imports due to sanctioned smuggling and non-inspections EVERY YEAR. That is just a gargantuan sum and is bigger than than the amount the BOC generates from its official collections. The primary idea is to capture these tremendous losses first and then to speed up processing which Tara already accomplishes by minimizing inspections in return for a fee. It should be noted that the secret NICA report mentions a hidden parallel online and real time computerized system that is already running and operated by the Tara syndicate to maximize THEIR collections. The blog also updates the acquisition status of the official modernized processing and database software decommissioned Sevilla was trying to install. The news link is to a report that the current commissioner has a plunder case before the Ombudsman for rigging and cancelling the bidding and the award of the 500 million peso project. In other words, its not going anywhere soon which keeps billions of Tara money flowing in every week.

        • surfer sison says:

          the power and telecom industry are the other crime syndicate !

          • @ surfer

            Please write an article about power and telecom industry crime syndicate so we may know why the Philippines has the highest power rate and the slowest internet rate in the world, with the fastest one available only for those who can afford the highest fees.

            You’re one of the most articulate commenters here, it will be chicken feed for you.

            chempo on real estate, you on power and telecom, and caliphman coordinated on the maggot infested BOC. Gettng to be sooo interesting here in the Society.

            Contributing articles here necessitates divulging your true name, so maybe coordination with Joe will do if you want to remain anonymous. Please?

            • Joe America says:

              I don’t require real name, actually. It can be sent to me as a pen name, as Mark Twain or George Sand would have done it. I agree, the guest articles really build the fabric of commentary deeper and richer.

          • Joe America says:

            I believe it. Huge intertwining interests balled up in regulations that make everything a cash transaction, there for the taking.

    • This is really interesting, chempo. Thanks. Can you recommend some links for more reading. Thanks, again.

      • chempo says:

        Have not done proper research. Speaking only from observation, personal experience, friends in related businesses and reading between the lines in media reports.

        If time permits, think I’ll look deeper.

  14. karl garcia says:

    Medyo huli ako sa balita tungkol sa kapatid ni speaker Belmonte. Paano nga ba naging controversial si collector Belmonte?

  15. VSB says:

    You better take it easy pilgrim…you are beginning to touch the grimy foundation of the crimino-showbiz elite…. BOC- INC- NPC- CHIZ- ERAP- ENRILE- BINAY- & dare I include Peping and danding cojuangco’s heirs etc.. a rich soup whose stench reaches to high heaven and a tasty trough of goodies that they share a pittance with the lumpen masses who form their power base… This cabal of players have slain and replaced the noble elite of yore (Magsaysay, Manglapus, Tanada, Mitra, etc) and now has a firm grip of the ship of state. expunge them – violently might be the only way and a new dawn beckons for the country.. Who will dare take this on? and before they do . they have to win first….Lord of the rings Pinoy version!!

    • Micha says:

      “expunge them – violently might be the only way…”

      Just as effective, I would suppose, is to expose them, big time, thru social media articles such as this and get the exorcism rolling by pulling the lever of President Aquino’s moral authority – while he still have it – to yank the scrotum of gangster world at BOC that is Berting Lina.

      • VSB says:

        Again a 1 percenter solution- people like us unfortunately do not have the numbers to elect a president- that is why Binay is sooo confident as he believes he has a lock on the 30% lumpen masses through his command network of mayors and lords. Chiz will keep egging on Poe to split Mars base, double cross her and sit at the right hand of Binay. Poe as little to lose as She keeps her Senate seat even if She loses her shot now… Then malacanang will consolidate and be the true center of this crime syndicate….

        • Micha says:


          Thanks for inflating my ego but, no, I do not belong in the 1% slave-owning class.

          If the middle could make an effort to mobilize/consolidate/organize and push back the predatory instinct of our irresponsible elite, it may yet be possible to see reform started by P-noy via deluge of collective indignation at Gloria Arroyo’s cabal without littering the streets with blood.

          I’d favor violent overthrow as a last resort.

    • Joe America says:

      Nice description. Who, indeed, will take this on?

      • Is the sympathy many have for Duterte, born out of frustration, understandable now?

        But does even Duterte dare touch Customs at Davao Port? I have very serious doubts…

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, he is starting to approach the realm of “fond” for me. As in “I’m getting fond of Duterte.” Now if he would kindly demonstrate that he would keep the economy rolling as a priority.

          • Nope, will not consider him…we had a strong man rule before in Marcos and the country suffered immensely. He began with good intention supposedly, but in truth, just to extend his hold on the seat of power by declaring martial law. He was not able to control his cronies, his military and his cabinet officials. Too many abuses were committed by his immediate families, too and before we knew it, he had his hands on every business ventures all over the country courtesy of his crony kings and he had multiple accounts in Switzerland and other European countries and in the US, too.

            Duterte is already old, he maybe able to control that one city of Davao, how can he do it for the entire country without delegating to people who might abuse the power given them.

            Nah…the Daang Matuwid maybe slow and bumpy but it still is the way to go, no short cuts, no detour, no vigilante style of justice. We just have to be vigilant and prod the government the way this article of yours is doing, to stay the course.

            It truly is difficult to do so, to have to do the unpleasant dealing to achieve a desired goal for the benefit of the majority of people, to balance the interest of stake holders – INC, RCC, CEC, coalition parties, opposition – for the purpose of bringing prosperity for the citizen bosses, in a corrupt free environment.

            Kinda like a chess game, a game PNOY is doing for more than five years, with a lot of success if I may say so as proven by our current status
            in the community of nations notwithstanding the blamers and whiners coming from the never satisfied and noisy opposition and needy, impatient bosses.

  16. Juana says:

    GMA TV is livestreaming the Senate Hearing on Balikbayan Boxes right now on YouTube. Very interesting discussion…

  17. To go even by the relative, shades of grey morality Andrew Lim explains above – this is very bad.

    Even if we are not sure – where there is smoke, there is fire. And why is it very bad: because it prevents the Philippines from becoming the true hub of international trade that it could be.

    So instead of vibrant trade creating jobs and wealth for very many like it does in places like Rotterdam or Hamburg, it creates obscene wealth for a few. Even if all ports smell like fish.

    • karl garcia says:


      If Binay controls the data center for Makati this elections, can he rig the entire elections?

      • Don’t know that – it depends on how the system is set up. Any publicly available documentation on how the election system is set up, including audit trails and such?

        • karl garcia says:

          thanks just looking for a theoretical answer, I doubt Smartmatic woulld make documentations available.

          • Somebody will have to audit the system – how are intermediate tallies created, where are they saved, are there spot checks to make sure that tallies at different levels are not tampered with, is there an audit trail of tallies/results at different levels – who does that? Corporate systems go through security audits, in certain industries they are very rigorous – defense and energy for example. Are there independent audits aside from COMELEC?

            SAP for example is watertight when it comes to financial stuff – kahit programmer ka, hindi mo madodoktor iyong mga dokumento, lahat may audit trail, user, araw, oras down to individual field level, kahit subukan mo mahahalata dahil hindi na consistent ang data. Which is why internationally reputable financial authorities like the American IRS or the German Tax Offices (Finanzamt) recognize electronic postings within SAP as valid records, provided there are certain standards of password security and internal audit.

            • karl garcia says:

              thanks again.I am sure somebody from the IT industry raised those questions,but I don’t know if they got their answer.

              • i7sharp says:

                @karl garcia
                “thanks again.I am sure somebody from the IT industry raised those questions,but I don’t know if they got their answer.”

                Karl, your response is addressed to Irineo (re SAP, audits, etc.)?

                If you or Irineo forms a group to look deeper (or act more earnestly) into this, may I volunteer to join as a “saling-pusa”?

                Not quite unrelated … but when I was working with Lufthansa, I remember being able to reduce overtime charges of CIQ (customs, immigration, quarantine). Those of customs, especially, by up to 71% because Swissair and KLM and Lufthansa exchanged info to see who were double- or even triple-charging?


              • Does NAMFREL still exist? It is the job of citizens groups to monitor the work of COMELEC. NAMFREL or another group could demand an audit and pay experts.

                BTW I am not the right expert for that kind of stuff. There are others really good at it.

              • karl garcia says:

                I thought I was wrong when I said you worked for Lufthansa.
                My question to Irineo was hypothetical anyways. dami nang watch dog baka kailangan nila ng eagle eyes.

              • karl garcia says:

                Is here a SAP package for elections?

              • Don’t think so. SAP GTS you found already, there is even a special package for Homeland Security. But anyone can develop own packages, the platform allows one to do it.

                Probably you would have to license the voters as cheaper Internet users to afford it.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks again Irineo! 🙂

  18. PNOY, please don’t let the INC create a detour in your Straight Path. Let DOJ Sec de Lima continue with the no nonsense investigation of the illegal detention of the INC ministers as well as the INC’s link on this BOC and NICA report. Your anti-corruption drive should not be hindered by Ochoa (if it’s true that he is involved) or the INC. Be kind to your country and your bosses and not to your friends. Roxas will make it even without them and your Straight Path will continue to ensure your legacy to the nation.

  19. Anne says:

    Now my fears have basis after all! I have long been bringing it up to our group in FB but nobody takes it up! For such office as critical money maker as BoC & a known to be most corrupt, and w/c changing of guard was so questionable w/o noise fr media & politicians nor from the exec branch itself, was really a puzzle to me! Grabe! What happened to P -noy?

    • Joe America says:

      Maybe we’ll find out. I hope so. The opposition is already running anti-Roxas posters that feature Sec Abaya and Com Lina, and saying this is what Roxas will bring. Abaya and Lina are poster boys, respectively, for incompetence and corruption. Whether the charge is true or not is a different matter. That is the public perception.

      • The balikbayan box thing is a VERY big issue among OFWs – but only as a symptom of what is perceived to be Philippine government callousness, unpredictability and arrogance.

        Remember that OFWs and migrants have lived in well-ordered countries for a long time and know how a strict but predictable system can work. The Philippine system on the other hand is strict AND unpredictable if you have no connections or perceived status.

      • chempo says:

        Another howler coming up.

        DOTC has declared an emergency situation necessitating a negotiated procurement for a P4.25-billion contract for the long-term maintenance for MRT-3.

        I’m beginning to think Pnoy has no control over some personalities in his admin.

  20. Johnny Lin says:

    Headline News

    Binay says on his presidency, he will not appoint a politician in his cabinet.

    Binay shot his foot publicly.
    Why say only now, being cabinet member of Aquino since 2010 and he is a politician.
    After benefitting from the position, he is saying now it’s wrong idea to appoint a politician in cabinet.

    Typical Ingrate Binay, after wallowing from the perks, he demonizes the privilege.
    Besides he is implying politicians are crooks to be cabinet members. He might be pointing to Abad, Alcala et at but he forgot his one finger points to him.

    • bauwow says:

      Johnny, heard that on the radio this afternoon. Binay was laying out the platform of his government, and as usual, all motherhood statements with no specific plans on how would he implement it. Funny thing is that after criticizing the government, he said he would continue the Private Partnership Program initiated by Pnoy. Bulok talaga!

  21. hackguhaseo says:

    It’s sad that I’m not even the slightest bit surprised when learning about these things anymore. I just can’t find it in me. We can’t do anything to change it and even if we could affect some change, things will just go back to how they were as soon as the politicians realize that the fires have cooled down. Then the country will go back to being the garbage pile that it is.

    Is this a cynical way of looking at things? Yes, yes it is. But it’s also reality.

  22. Juana says:

    I am not trying to be sexist but how about a woman commissioner at BoC? Why? Henares, Carpio, Sereno, De Lima… Need I say more?

    • Joe America says:

      De Lima would have been excellent. But she is on a path to the Senate.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Do you see a woman INC minister?

      Aquino is breaking up INC influence because he knows it’s the heart of biggest control in corrupt BOC but his friends wanted to manipulate it for election purpose but fire is starting to smoke.

      Maybe, if Roxas or Dterte becomes president and they really are serious in cleaning up BOC, first thing to do is remove INC influence followed by straightforward complete computerization and truly honest Finance Secretary and Commissioner. Sevilla was real honest man but Purisima is not truly honest. He has an evil side, Hyatt 10 stature was not pure, more of impish behavior.

      Purisima wants forever power in Finance..So are other Hyatt 10 members.

      Everyone, open your eyes wider. PNoy and his sisters are sleeping on the train to straight path.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Aha! ha! ha! That is a goot one. If you put Henares, Carpio, Sereno and deLima some businessme would dig into their past and pass it on to Inquirer.

      REMEMBER: There are no holier than thou in the Philippines.

      HENARES: was wrong on Manny Pacquiao. In the U.S., we file our taxes electronically. We print our returns from the cloud server. Henares is asking for notarized certified true copy tax return of Manny Pacquiao? Huh? Wa sija kyafe? I went to IRS. Asked for notarized certified true copy. The clerk who is numerous times below my paygrade told me, “Hey, bud, go to the internet and print it. If they have question, let them come to me and I will lecture them about our tax filing process”

      Also, in the U.S., taxes are witheld at source. How can Manny be guilty of when Manny can neither read or write or understand archaic tax laws in the US? DUDE! HENARES should go to the U.S. and get Manny’s ITR herself so we can have entertainment how IRS deals with HENARES.

      SERENO: Aha! ha! ha! ha! She is outdating Aguinaldo Principle in the meddle of the fight. It is like Manny Pacquiao fighting Mayweather and the bell rang. The judges went inside the ring and tell Manny Pacuiao and Mayweather that they should fight with one hand only. SERENO is not recusing despite she has prejudge the case. Bleah

      DELIMA: I love this woman. While others has found Binay guilty, deLima is still gathering evidences against Binay. deLima found out that those affidavits from PAID witnesses and state witnesses are not supported by evidences. They cannot prove the overprice contract went to Binay’s pocket.

      As to CARPIO? Well, silent water runs deep.

      AHA! HA! HA! They are all from U.P. except deLima.

  23. Johnny Lin says:

    On a side note. Since Rappler is favorite source of Joeam and many commenters, one writer Cherie Querol wrote ” Why keep saying Grace Poe is fondling”

    She is admonishing fellow writers in media to stop referring to Grace Poe as a Foundling in their write ups because using the word brings back memories of being abandoned as a child.
    Instead of focusing on her colleagues in media,

    Ms Querol should focus on Grace instead. Since she had previous experience of interviewing and seeing in her own eyes the lovely scene of mother/daughter relationship of Susan and Grace, she should tell Grace that Foundling usage by her colleagues would stop as soon as she says she will not run for president.

    It will not stop as long as she is in the limelight for presidency or maybe, even for Vice President. That’s the sad fact of running for the highest office and reality of being a Foundling. Everything is free for grabs on the table.

    Ms Querol has the best intention for every Foundling but in Grace’s case, it’s wrong timing.

    • Micha says:

      Election is 8 months away and she still hasn’t declared her intention to run? That leaves very little time for vetting and scrutiny of her qualification – which is probably what she wanted. I don’t think she can survive a prolonged spotlight trained on her.

      • NHerrera says:

        Er … ah, if I may just insert: the guys and gals at Raissa’s place are putting Grace under a microscope especially in relation to the her/ her lawyers’ own documents in her defense against David’s disqualification case with the SET.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I do not read Rappler. Rappler is not up to snuff.

  24. i7sharp says:

    @Joe America
    “Abbreviations: Iglesia ni Cristo (ICC), …”

    You meant “INC”?


  25. andrewlim8 says:


    Should we nominate the blog for this (under society and politics):

    Judges include Ressa of Rappler and Nery of Inquirer both of whom Joe has criticized before. aha ha ha ha

    Problem is what if it wins? How can the award be accepted? Can one of the members show up, with authorization from Joe and claim it? aha ha ha I put the cart ahead of the donkey, LOL 🙂

    • chempo says:

      Not with the eyes on the award. but to promote this good blog.

    • Joe America says:

      As I recall, the award is for citizens only. If that is not the case, you may be the Society’s emissary to the awards. Tell them we need about 100 statues for all the regulars here who have pounded away in the best interest of the nation during this past year.

      • edgar lores says:

        Bloggys Rules

        1. Any blog owned and written by Filipinos, naturalized Filipino citizens and those with dual citizenships (Fil-Am, FilAussie, FilBrit, Chinoy).
        2. Blogs must have been established and active prior to September 1, 2015.
        3. Blogs must have at least ten (10) posts.
        4. Blogs must predominantly be written in English, Tagalog or Taglish.
        5. Blogs must be accessible during the nomination, voting and judging period.
        6. Blogs with content that targets Filipino or (non-specific) global audience.
        7. For multi-authored blogs, must be Filipino majority.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Raissa of Rappler? Judging blogs? REally? Seriously?

      Before Raissa becomes a judge, I need to ask her about u.p. graduates monopolozing crookery, incompetence, corruptions, bribery, outdating, overageing etcetera before she becomes a Judge of Blogs.

      Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy, Gloria, Supreme Court justices past and present, and all glamorous bigtime crooks are graduates from U.P.

      Let us get real. Let us thank San Beda graduate deLima for targetting U.P. crooks.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Why is political blogging under LIFESTYLE? Is blogging lifestyle? Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Raissa is blogging because it is lifestyle. So is Alan. Both of these duo will not ever stand a chance if theyboth of these were in my country. Never. Hands down.

  26. Oz Fajardo says:

    Joe, this post seems like a material for a John Grisham novel. How stomach-turning the greed, the impunity, the evil-ness, and the seeming powerlessness of us, ordinary citizens in the face of this complex, web- like criminal machine (religious cult, gov’t people, dirty politicos and importers/traders who buy into the illegal “tara” system. You said certain of PNoy’s men blind sided him? And then, another commenter said PNoy is trying to break up INC’s influence. With Ochoa’s glaring connection to the BOC – INC-mafia, and the surging revelations all around, could it be that Mar, with help fr supporters, is starting to dismantle Ochoa’s machine ( digging and exposing his links to BOC-INC-Escudero-INC) bec he might do another Noy-Bi? Looks to me that Sept is starting to be a killer month.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting, Oz. A reader on Facebook also pointed me to the Ochoa political loyalty, which is evidently not to Mar Roxas, but to Binay/Escudero. It seems to me like a Sci-Fi movie, alien creatures dining on the innocent. I think Lina’s testimony at the Senate today about balikbayan boxes was more of the same: justifications for what they are doing, and not listening to complaints (which rather irked Senator Recto today, evidently). Lina can’t make the simple connection that when he doubles the fee on balikbayan box cargo containers, that fee will eventually hit OFW’s. He kept saying the freight company pays it. Like . . . you mean HIS companies don’t pass cost increases on to customers? He makes his shareholder’s eat the expense? I don’t think so.

      He plays people for stupid, I think.

  27. David Murphy says:

    The contents of this blog took me back almost seven decades, when we had an outhouse for our toilet. The smell really wasn’t too bad until you lifted the lid on a hot summer day and the stench came roiling out; that was repulsive. But the worst was if you looked inside and saw what was actually going on down there, with the maggots squirming and crawling over and into the excrement to get their share. That was beyond repulsive; revolting and nauseating only begins to convey the picture. But in time it became tolerable, even routine, familiar and unexceptional.
    Only at this late date does it occur to me to consider what an extraordinary man it takes to be willing and able to clean up a mess like that without getting dirty or indifferent himself.

    • David, you naughty guy you…that outhouse toilet was so common in my mother’s time…you don’t only see, you get to hear those maggots…one story told in those days, an uncle who could not stand the cries of his beloved puppy who fell down there had to get in there to rescue the poor animal


      The BOC as described here?…multiple ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!. Who’s going to wade in there to rescue the BOC, if the likes of Sevilla could not stomach the demands of the INC and the powerful people with vested interests…? I wished he had the strong stomach of my uncle who rescued his poor doggie from the maggot filled outhose toilet….then we wont have Bert Lina over there…you wish…

      Kinda like PNOY who had to grin and bear it and focus on finishing the race…then pass the baton to a worthy successor who will continue the good fight…such recalcitrant bosses he has…each intent on going every which way, with no direction in sight with him trying to direct the journey via the Straight Path.

      • David Murphy says:

        Mary Grace, you hit exactly what I was looking for. We need a man who has the motivation of your uncle and his courage to do what needs to be done. We need a hero!

        • Who could that be, who could be the one who will say no to the INC, and to the Ochoas, the Escuderos and other dirty politicians, the businessmen and their billion a year bait.

          Truly, we need a hero. Mr. President, please be our hero. You can do it. Cleanse this maggot infested BOC, eliminate the tara system. If our BOC will be cleaned up, we can be like Singapore economy wise…

        • edgar lores says:

          The analogy was apt… but nauseating.

          The conclusion is… brilliant. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Well, the way my father would do it, is, when it got full, just shovel dirt in and dig a new one. However, I do recall the trek during winter amid driving Colorado snow storms to be a bit nippy and the seat quite cold. In summer time, I used to worry about snakes.

      Thanks for the highly descriptive memories. Very apt.

    • chempo says:

      Saw on TV recently. One major problem they are tackling in Tacloban after Yolanda. There are hundreds or thousands of mobile toilets, each serving 100 people. Daily the human output are sucked out and transferred to an open pit. Workers sanitise the pit manually each day. As the camera zoomed in on the pit worker in books to the spade he was holding and followed down to the chocolate ground zero, I switched channel.

      Perhaps they shouldtransfer all these pit workers to the BOC.

  28. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Let me rub it in until it hurts. Chiz Escudero is product of University of the Philippines. U.P. as all of you know has socialized tuition funded by the taxpayers and run by the government.

    The recent half-a-billion Ms PDAF yesterday was also graduate from University of the Philippines.

    The government of Benigno Aquino should stop funding U.P. and P.M.A. it is a cesspool of crooks. And these crooks works up and down the bureacracy of Philippines.

    Rappler is silent. PCIJ is obviously silent. Because they are all graduates from U.P. Graduates from U.P. protect their own.


  29. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Last year I sent a 65 inches LG Smart TV. Top of the line. I paid $600.00 for shipping and freight charges. I am not naming the forwarder because I have another TV same size but this time it is not flat screen IT IS CURVED TV. The forwarder said the $600.00 covers “taxes”. It arrived without a dent. It was still in its original packaging.

    For me $600.00 is fair considering TV requires TLC, Tender Loving Care. For the same brand and size at SM, it costs Php250,000.00 pesos. I only spent total 92,000.00.

    Hey, I am a hero. I am self-exiled OFW. OFWs should be with benefits. One of the benefits is send balikbayan boxes without inspection. We are the ones that float this economy.


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      SM Televisions are relatively expensive because they have to go thru BOC. Not because of the bribe they have to pay it is because of the taxes, real taxes, they have to pay. Just imagine if BOC are MATUWID, Filipinos will never ever can afford anything from abroad, else, thru BLACK MARKET.

      What I am saying is taxes should be fair. Imports are taxed to protect and promote manufacturing businesses locally. But Filipinos do not buy locally manufactured products because Filipinos know if it is Made-in-the-Philippines it is several notch inferior than the product from Made-in-China.

      That is the truth. That is the fact. All commenters here prefer Made-in-the-USA. Heineken, Sam Adams, Guiness over San Miguel. Bushmill, Lauders, Amrot over Anejo.


      On Christmas, give BOC staff Tanduay 5-yerars-old and they’ll laugh at you. There are more businessmen that gives them Kettel Stolichnaya etcetera.

      • Joe America says:

        Not to pick nits, but San Miguel is a top-quality beer. It depends how you line them up. Put San Mig against Budweiser or Millers, or even Coors, and it wins. Corona, from Mexico, is also good beer. Guiness is not really mass produced, I think. Specialty beers can generate deeper flavor.

        • American beer-brewing tradition – originally German-American – lost its continuity during Prohibition days. Which is why a lot of Americans will be here in Munich again in two weeks time and spend at least 10 Euro for the one-liter steins of Oktoberfest beer.

          Not to mention the Aussies who come over for two weeks straight, the long flight has got to be worth it. But you do make me miss San Miguel, for all the good beer we have over here. One amazing and sad factoid is that the turnover of the Oktoberfest alone in two weeks – I mean the festival proper, not to mention hotels and bars all over town that rake in loads of money, is equivalent to the entire national defense budget of the Philippines. Which goes to show that properly run business makes everybody richer than the kind of monkey business exemplified by what BOC and INC are apparently doing. Damn just the prostitutes from all over who come in for two weeks and rake in good money without having to do really much with mostly drunken men. Cold hard brains at work over here.

        • sonny says:

          I’m an occasional beer-drinker. Even so, SM Pale Pilsen on the rocks is sui generis forever. Don Enrique Barreto (erstwhile Zambales), thank you. 🙂

  30. i7sharp says:

    Global Recognized AVATAR.

    Perhaps people might like to avail themselves of what the service can do for them.



    The one I have chosen (and which I must say I am greatly pleased with) is the eye of the Philippine Eagle.
    btw, does anybody here know that the national hero (Dr. Jose Rizal) and the national bird of the Philippines share one very memorable, fateful, singular date?:
    December 30, 1896
    Sorry for the digression. No need to respond to it. Keep it as a food for thought, for now, if you will. 🙂


    • “does anybody here know that the national hero (Dr. Jose Rizal) and the national bird of the Philippines share one very memorable, fateful, singular date?”

      I can’t find the connection, though there’s “An Eagle in Flight” book by Jose Rizal–is that the connection?

      “Charles Lindbergh, best known for crossing the Atlantic alone and without stopping in 1927, was fascinated by this eagle. As a representative of the World Wildlife Fund, Lindbergh traveled to the Philippines several times between 1969 and 1972, where he helped persuade the government to protect the eagle. In 1969, the Monkey-eating Eagle Conservation Program was started to help preserve this species.”

      There’s a good chance, they’ll be gone like the Dodos.

      • i7sharp says:

        “There’s a good chance, they’ll [the Philippine Eagles will] be gone like the Dodos.”


        Our national bird has been called by an American naturalist as
        “the best bird in the world.”

        It is tragic that because of our pre-occupation with the diverse evils plaguing the country we would forget protecting critically-endangered creatures such as the “Haribon” (Haring Ibon – King of the Birds) which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

        Lindbergh, “the Lone Eagle” has called our national bird “the air’s noblest flyer.”

        The info about the December 30 date was posted ten years ago almost to the day:

        The link to the original article does not seem to work anymore.
        But fortunately you can still read it as message #10 in the site.
        This is one of the reasons I like to “archive” info in Yahoo! Groups sites.

        For four years, as an exile, Dr. Rizal was in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, when there must have still been – if not now – a likelihood of the presence of the eagles there – but apparently he did not know of (much less have seen) any.

        If you feel like it, why not browse through the postings, files, photos at
        and give me ideas on how to improve the site (as if I really have the time )


      • sonny says:

        Not quite yet, LC. Pithecophaga jefferyi is slowly and surely making a comeback, (thanks also to the Lone Eagle). Its American relation, Haliaeetus, is alive n’ well, thank you.

    • i7sharp says:

      I meant “Globally …”


      While I am at it, let me point out that there are – as in almost everything – pros and cons in using gravatars.


  31. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Let us be reminded that BENIGNO AQUINO is alone by himself. He is good. Majority are not. THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

    The NEXT President will face the same problem.

    That is why the only solution is outsource the Philippine Government or apply for re-colonization to Spain. Because the colonizer mestizo class are the only honest people in the Philippines. Never been sued. Never been accused of bribery, corruption and thievery.

    Therefore, COLONIAL MENTALITY IS GOOD but Filipinos did not want their mind colonized. Instead they accused COLONIAL MENTALITY is what is wrong with them.

    THAT IS TOTALLY WRONG. COLONIAL MENTALITY IS GOOD. Or is Raissa and Allan of Rappler afraid of the Mestizo ex-colonizer to attack them? THAT IS THE QUESTION.

    I think they are. THEIR pen is NOT mightier than the Mestizo’s swords.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Therefore, the DepOfEducation Philippine History books are farce. It is not true that Spaniards are crooks. They are not crooks. They are honest. Look at the defeated ex-colonizer Mestizo class. Never involved in shenanigans. Only those KKK and EDSA revolutionaries are the crooks. SPANISH COLONIZERS ARE HONEST. Not the colonized.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      El Feli and Noli Me are also books written by bored Jose Rizal.

      To prove all of my above statements are wrong, Philippine Media, Raissa and Allan will have to come up with stories that the Mestizo class are crooks, too. If they do not Philippine Media, Raissa and Allan are selling out to the Mestizo class.

    • Joe America says:

      OMG, a wee bit of empathy for a guy with a tough, tough job, who is indeed the owner, personally, of all that the nation does and represents. It’s one of the reasons I lend support now and then. Or always.

  32. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    It is unfair to label BOC as crime syndicate. BOC staff are just doing their job. BOC are guided by tax table approved by Bureau of Finance. BOC staff cannot overtax. They are experts in their job.

    Here comes an importer from agricultural country called Philippines touted by Filipinos that is RICH IN NATURAL RESOURCES:

    BOC: “Sir, your tax is one million pesos”
    IMPORTER: “Ang laki! Pare, pwede, one hundred thousand na lang, sa iyo, 150,000”
    BOC: “Sir, mali-it yung 150,000.00 kasi da-da-an pa ito sa boss ko. Para mag-pirma siya ng clearance mag-hgingi yan sila. Pagkatapos meron pa yung mga agent sa Bureau of Finance. Ang dami tayong mga bottleneck dito. Pwede 400,000.00 at least naka save ka ng kalahate”
    IMPORTER: “ok. aGREED. Kailan ko makuha ang bigas, onions atsaka garlic?”

    SO THAT IS how it goes. BOC is a market place where taxes are haggled and pagtawaran for bigas. sibuyas and bawang in a land of AGRICULTURAL COUNTRY WITH RICH NATURAL RESOURCES.

    So, folks, another fallacy and myths of Philippines. An agricultural country with rich natural resources that cannot produce rice, onions and garlic.

    Even “It is Fun in the Philippines” is plagiarized by a Filipino advertising graduate of Harvard. The original “It is Fun in Switzerland” in early 20th century. I wonder what happened to the lawsuit? Maybe they go thru Philippine Department of Justice MARKETPLACE to be haggled.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      What I am saying is IT IS THE BUSINESSMEN that bribes first. Who are these businessmen? They cannot be Filipinos. FILIPINOS ARE ONLY GOOT IN SARI-SARI STORE BUSINESS NOT BIG TIME BUSINESSES.

      Guess who? What is the color of the skin?

      It is like prostitution in massage parlor in the U.S. It has to be the masseuse that offers a undercover cop before it becomes a crime not the other way around.

      It is unfair BOC is the culprit they are just following the USURIOUS TAX LAWS. IT IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND. The businessmen. And the businessmen are not your typical browned-skin flat nose Filipinos.

      This is what Raissa and Allan should be looking at instead they’d rather want to go after their own kind.

      • “It is like prostitution in massage parlor in the U.S. It has to be the masseuse that offers a undercover cop before it becomes a crime not the other way around.”

        In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit

        ˈfərT͟H(ə)rəns/ noun –the advancement of a scheme or interest.

        MRP, unless that cop is in there off-duty,

        he’s not just gonna lay there waiting for the “masseuse” to offer a good time. He’s there to make an arrest, they’ve already targeted said establishment, he’s got a contingent of officers outside waiting for the arrest. So it’s by no means a one sided affair.

        It’s not entrapment, cuz Asian massage parlours are known to engage in prostitution–ruling out “unlikely to commit”. What happens is a little dance of you show me yours, I show you mine, touch me there, I’ll touch you here.

        Sometimes it’s the girl that’s more convincing, other times it’s the guy–but protocol dictates (since ancient times) the guy initiates, subtly or otherwise. But the stage is set and it isn’t vestal–they are encouraging each other to complete the transaction. It takes two to tango.

        It’s the same with this tara racket, you can ponder chicken or the egg (which came first), but it’s usually the party that benefits financially (more to gain) that promotes & continues said criminal enterprise. So blame is obvious.

    • Joe America says:

      You read like Kafka, in his novel “The Castle”.

  33. This is so explosive. I applaud your courage Joe!

    The never-ending greed for power and money in the BoC is deplorable. Thinking of the billions of pesos that all Pilipinos could have benefited makes me furious. I think in anger of the hunger and poverty of most people and the thieves who live in luxury. Even more deplorable is their sense of entitlement. How dare they!

    Now we know why the sanctimonious INC are so arrogant and demanding. Next thing we know, they will demand a name change for The Philippines of the INC.

    I hope Pres. Aquino will take action. He’d be best advised to sack slimy Lina, bring back Sevilla so he can get into the business of cleaning up the rotten BoC.

    You have exposed the evil deeds of some powerful people.

    Please take care.

    • Joe America says:

      Can you imagine the work environment for Sevilla? He was getting pressure from his staff, from colleagues, and even from his bosses. He was out on the end of a plank and everyone he knew had saws. Customs will get cleaned up when the President insists it be cleaned up, and gets directly involved to support whoever is given the tough job.

      • Mccoy says:

        I can imagine Sunny Sevilla having nightmares while still at BOC. I’m currently working in an international logistics company and with a interntional container shipping company before that. Customs brokers that i know tell me that a lot of BOC officials and employees hated Sevilla when he was still running BOC since he is making their life difficult,meaning Sevilla is stomping their rights to engage in corruption. 😂

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the confirmation. So my remark on the blog that he was “making people nervous” was a gross understatement.

          • Mccoy says:

            This was my conclusion also on the reason he was kicked, he may have resigned yes but that’s a bull ****. He was against the appointment of Raval to ESS. ESS is an important department within BOC in enforcing the regulations for import shipments, he may already have foreseen that if Raval will head ESS, the improvements that he is trying to implement inside BOC will be for naught.If we connect the dots…

        • kinda like some evil businessmen hate Kim Henares

      • It must have been hell surrounded by people wanting to draw blood, poor Sevilla. BoC must be the hardest to clean up but the President should not exempt that bureau for Daang Matuwid.. Whoever he gives the task other than Lima of course, needs his support the most. I’m crossing my fingers!

  34. NHerrera says:

    A blog topic full of revealing information clearly presented. Thanks Joe/Caliphman. I enjoyed too the informative comments and exchanges.

    On a topic such as the one in the blog, one can succumb to despair. This is because a governmental machinery such as BOC which can contribute greatly to the country’s health by being a model of integrity and by its being the biggest source of legal income, instead works in three negative ways:

    – First, by its present state it reduces the vital income to be used for the critical needs of the country.

    – Secondly, and more destructively by its being a model of corruption it becomes a model for the other sectors of government to emulate by their own creative ways.

    – Thirdly, and even worse, the relationship, exposed, between BOC with INC with its tentacles over all parts of the body politic, with each corrupt ways acting in synergy with the other; and aided by a wheeler-dealer Senator in the mix, we have a very potent brew to destruction of the body politic if left unchecked.

    But I will not succumb to despair. As the blog itself recognizes, the BIR — a former den of thieves too — had had successes that we can be thankful for.

    It is perhaps heaven-sent that the very ugly side of BOC and INC are EXPOSED again in a timely way(through the balikbayan box trigger or catalyst and the EDSA mess trigger, respectively) — in this age of escalating social media awareness — so that a cure may be undertaken contingent on our luck holding on in May 2016.

    This polygamous marriage of BOC-INC-Escudero for ends that can only be labeled as destructive if not evil must not be allowed to go on.

    It is perhaps a tiresome theme but Election 2016 is again an Election of good versus evil in whatever shades one wishes to paint those adjectives.

    • i7sharp says:

      “It is perhaps heaven-sent that the very ugly side of BOC and INC are EXPOSED again in a timely way(through the balikbayan box trigger or catalyst and the EDSA mess trigger, respectively) — in this age of escalating social media awareness — so that a cure may be undertaken contingent on our luck holding on in May 2016.”

      The (US) Civil War, “the very ugly side of the U.S.?”, where about 620,000 Americans perished, gave birth to the “Gettysburg Address”:

      Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

      Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

      But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

      Abraham Lincoln
      November 19, 1863

      A must-see series, if I may say so:
      for whatever perspective or inspiration it can give the earnest viewer.

      Or, for a vision or creation of a cure of the ills – one after another after another – besetting the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      The only hope I can find in this mess is (Caliphman’s) point that BIR, too, was once a pit of corruption. I think there is a layer between the President and the BOC position – namely Purisima, and maybe Ochoa – who are not committed to clean-up. If they were, how come they did not give Sevilla EVERYTHING he requested. Why did they impose a subordinate in a key position when Sevilla plainly did not want him there, possibly undermining his good work. By forcing that appointment on Sevilla, they robbed him of his ACCOUNTABILITY. And Sevilla was correct to resign.

      And Purisima had Lina all lined up. A really horrible choice, in my opinion, and horrible exhibition of management. I now have less confidence in Philippine financial management. Up to this point, I was a Purisima fan. I thought he walked on water.

      • NHerrera says:

        I was never a fan of Ochoa. But like you, I was, with Purisima. Good take on the two which I share completely.

        Also, with support, something may be done as was the case of BIR. Which brings up the critical importance of the 2016 Election. I hope Roxas and Poe are reading this blog topic.

        • Joe America says:

          Roxas’ people read the blog. I don’t know about Poe’s.

          • NHerrera says:

            I can understand the principal, GP — her being busy campaigning and all that takes. But the staff? Who can bring up some useful items bad or good? Putting blinders on oneself and instructing the staff to do likewise — hearing only the hosannas — is generally not good policy. (There are sources of course which should be treated as rags; and putting blinders is the right policy. But JoeAm’s — no way says my Magician friend. Joe, you owe him a San Mig.) I am of course making a conjecture.

      • Ok, let’s just imagine a scenario wherein Sevilla did not resign and did all he could to thwart whatever Raval intended to do with full computerization and cross checking of all its procedures and processes. Eventually Raval could be exposed by him if ever he, too will be instrumental in the corruption.

        My point is, to have the stomach to stay and do the mucky work of cleansing of the BoC of those maggots and report back personally to PNOY and not to Purisima. To suggest the INC, Purisima, Ochoa, Escudero and his man Nepo and all other vested politicians to stay out of each and every transaction in that bureau. Surrender should not have been the option, talking directly to PNOY and laying out on the table the things and powerful forces that are hindering his drive to rid the bureau of its corruption that the President himself has exposed in his 2013 SONA, should have been. Looking back, maybe he felt he wouldn’t have the ear of the President, that ear is devoted to what Purisima and Ochoa had to say.

        Anyways, since it is already water under the bridge, Mr. President, I echo the sentiments already voiced here, get rid of Lina and bring back Sevilla, please.

        Singapore, who has no natural resources such as ours was able to be an economic giant of the world, its garden city, the cleanest, because of discipline and was able to get its initial riches from port and custom activities. Why can’t we?

        • Joe America says:

          Sevilla was a subordinate to Purisima. He was, from all evidence, not supported and assisted by Purisima, but undermined. A competent executive, like Sevilla, would not stand for that. It means he is nothing but a pawn. His dignity did not allow him to become a pawn. I think Purisima’s role in all this, from the standpoint of all I know about corporate management, played the most corrupt agency as a political asset. He did not walk on the straight path. It can’t be any clearer. As the Commissioner’s accountability was taken from him by Purisima, it is now Purisima who is accountable for corruption in BOC. The President is a “softie”, some would say a hypocrite, for allowing this to be. For not holding Purima to account for not cleaning up BOC.

          Sevilla would never return as long as Purisima would be his boss, I think. That relationship is burned. It has to be someone new.

          • Pardon me for being so makulet by insisting on Sevilla. You mentioned an idea about a martial law at BOC, there you are. Purisima will be out of the loop in BOC, Sevilla for the remaining months of this admin will be answerable to PNOY and PNOY only…I hope 8 months would be enough for Sevilla to continue what he started, introducing a new man will take time to acclimatize himself with BOC systems, policies and procedures…ok, let’s see, why not Sevilla and Lim as equal co-commissioners? Ehek…me and my wild ideas again…it’s just we are running out of time and ideas here.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, I think two Aquino departments will be hung around Roxas’s neck, DOTC and BOC. Like flapping albatrosses, not quite dead yet.

            • Joe America says:

              Oh, I think he is an excellent man. But I believe he was beaten up and the passers-by, who included his boss, and therefore the boss of his boss, did nothing to help. He no longer has the desire needed. The will to conquer.

              • Pity. And we lost a good man. How many good men did we lose because of the Finance Dept Head and the Little President Ochoa who, with his brother in law, took care of INC’s and Binay’s and Escudero’s interests? How about the interests of your bosses?

                I hope the President realizes this even if it is a little bit late, or his dreams of leaving a corrupt free government as a legacy of his regime will disappear like a puff of smoke. Less than a year to make up for this, Mr. President. A swift and decisive action from you is needed.

  35. Alilir says:

    Hey Joe,

    It looks we both have finally come to a conclusion regarding Ms. Poe.
    She just outed herself as nothing more than a trapo. Shame. And I had some hope…

    • Joe America says:

      It has always been up to her, and the deeds she chose to undertake. She made the choice easy, and I’m sorry about that. Big disappointment, and she appears to not even hear the cries of those around her.

  36. In other news, another Binay supporter has bit the dust. It seems Harry Roque had an epiphany and is no longer running for senator but rather as a partylist representative. It also seems he finally saw the light and could no longer stomach Binay and his minions. I never thought that could happen, but it did. It seems Binay is in so much trouble.

    As for your postscript, I agree. For example, P-Noy is currently being investigated because of allegations regarding the DAP. I don’t believe that the probe should be stopped; on the contrary, I believe that it should be pushed. The Tuwid na Daan must not spare anyone, even its own architect, if it is to achieve its goals. The fact that P-Noy and Abad are being investigated at all is a testament to the integrity of the Ombudsman. If this was any other administration, such investigations would have never started.

    Also, your postscript is very timely: yesterday some people were asking me to sign a petition that “P-Noy’s regime should be held accountable for budget cuts in SUCs”. While I am against budget cuts myself, I declined signing the petition because: at least with UP I’ve read (not sure if true) that UP actually has a budget surplus, so if anything the problem is not that there are budget cuts but the budget is not being used to its full extend, and secondly why blame Aquino for the budget cuts? If it has anything to do budget and education, if anything, Abad, DepEd secretary Luistro, and whoever the CHED chair is should be the ones held accountable. P-Noy isn’t too involved in this, unlike in Mamasapano where he was personally involved and thus it could be argued that he did have to share the blame for that operation. I personally had no issues with the petition itself, and I would have signed it without any hesitation if only the two issues I raised above were corrected.

  37. Sup says:

    ” the tara payment is recovered from customers or treated as part of the cost of doing business.” This sentence could be so true…You never know how much ”tax and storage” you have to pay…for the readers with a lot of time to spare try to read the comments in this blog…

  38. surfer sison says:

    I find it hard to believe Pnoy does not know the hanky panky happening in the BOC. What if Pnoy just lets his people do the dirty work for this brief one year period to fund the election? The rationalisation being that it is for a greater cause of getting their guy to continue the Tuwid na Daan ? A little evil in exchange for a greater good ?

    Wouldn’t it be worse if Pnoy/ Mar had to get campaign funds from big business , interest groups etc. and be indebted to them in the course of the next administration? The BOC campaign fundraising excercise would be more clean cut. I get paid for “services” rendered. Finished. Next.

    if that is the plan, I am all for it.
    Great leaders need to have a Thick Face and Black Heart.

    And I don’t mean it in a negative way.

    • Vicara says:

      “A little evil in exchange for a greater good?” The hard reality of politics, the world over.

      The parties to this little agreement may each get what they want out of it (including the “greater good”); each may stick to the one-year timeline and the conditions in small print. But once a machine for corruption is set in place, others will want to keep its engine running, others will step in to take the wheel in a never-ending relay. Which is why, over decades, every administration sees a mysterious resurrection of the same players (rotated), and the same systemic ills.

  39. jmbau816 says:

    It should take more than political will to change the custom of the Bureau of Customs. Bert Lina might have been appointed by Pnoy as a concession for the INC support.

    It is disheartening to read stuff like this, BOC with it’s unbridled corruption and the rest is of us breaking our backs to earn an honest and decent living.

  40. I miss giancarlo’s input on this article, and the 2 articles preceding it. Gian, I hope you’ll rejoin us as soon as you’re ready.

  41. Sup says:

    The INC has nurtured Escudero as an ally from the time he first joined the political circus in 1998, as congressional representative of the 1st district of Sorsogon.

    Sure he will defend INC and will be a big help to put INC members at BOC..

  42. karl garcia says:

    This is another news about the INC.concerning real estate.

    for transparency. The Domingo Garcia mentioned here is my uncle.

  43. System works, could be, police. Steel is strong. But the mind that wield it is stronger. A dialogue in a movie. A person’s mind only capable of right and wrong. Police on a Complain. There is something wrong and if there is none, then, things must been going as expected. It’s a lay perspective outlook. Persons only is capable of right and wrong. If a person does his routine and nobody complain, the police donot bother. If that person stop or is missing on a Police report, the Police work on it by confiscating all evidence from this person. All. Court judge. If the justice system donot allow a president be a subject of complain, the police can start with his vice. If the president stop his routine or is missing, the police bothers why it is so. The police has petty, as well as big crime complain to bother. More, police research on prevention of crimes. Police System and the president.

  44. Micha says:

    Guatemalan President was forced to resign and sent to prison over alleged involvement in corruption at their Customs Bureau.

  45. karl garcia says:

    If Ochoa and Chiz are for Binay, then I say to Grace: You better watch out,you better not cry…..

    • Sup says:

      Maybe the father of Heart Evangelista is the one writing the blog under de name Ebangelista…whahahahha….He don’t like Chiz…..No more block voting…talo…. 🙂

  46. chempo says:

    Ebangelista is Samson the ex-INC minister.

  47. Bing Garcia says:

    According to the survey, Roxas will win a one-on-one presidential battle with Binay.

  48. loli says:

    Wow! What an analysis. Are you sure you’re not affiliated with any of the intelligence agencies?

  49. David Murphy says:

    I concede that Philippine politics is a vast area of fog for me but something doesn’t add up .Here;s what I think I know. President Aquino is committed to eliminating corruption in the Philippine government. The Bureau of Customs is the most corrupt entity in the Philippine government. President Aquino appointed John Phillip Sevilla to the head of BOC to eliminate corruption. Sevilla was unable to accomplish his task because political influence interfered with his choice of personnel and, in fact, resulted in the awarding of key positions to persons of dubious honesty, highly likely to support corrupt practices within the BOC. After Sevilla resigned, the President’s friend and Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima facilitated the appointment as BOC Commissioner of a man of questionable integrity, one already tainted by corrupt practices.
    Given this situation, what does President Aquino know? Is he so out of touch with reality that he does not know what is going on? How can he allow these things to happen? Is he permitting this to allow the siphoning of BOC money into the campaign fund of his chosen successor, as has been alleged? Is he willing to compromise the integrity of his term of service to accommodate his friends? Is it possible that he could be in office for five years and still be incapable of dealing with dishonesty among his own people? Something is indeed rotten but it’s not in Denmark. The smell seems to be coming from the Office of the President of the Philippines.

  50. karl garcia says:

    Acuzar and Ochoa in kingmakers in law, I mean brothers in law.

      • Joe America says:

        Hmmm, mine is not loading, either. I hope it works for others.

        • karl garcia says:

          my second try worked.

          • i7sharp says:

   lets you choose a format

   PDF format

            (I did some changes in text and in formatting)



            DATE OF REPORT : 04 APRIL 2014

            This report discusses the tara system that exists during the
            time of Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner “Ruffy” Biazon (Com
            Biazon) in 2011 until 2013. These are based from documents submitted
            by BOC officials, NICA holdings and interview of four (4) sources who
            validated much of the contents of the documents held.

            “Tara” may be defined as protection money paid by a consignee
            and importer normally per container per week per port. During the
            incumbency of Com Biazon, this involves two ports: the Port of Manila
            and Manila International Container Port.

            The tara ensures that “no alert” reports on the shipment or “no
            hit” on a particular importation would be made by BOC officials to
            ensure the smooth processing of the importation documents of the
            consignee/importer. This means that there should be no problem or
            inconvenience that an importer will have to deal with from the port of
            origin to the local ports – until the shipment reaches the

            Tara money is thus distributed to all “offices” that handled
            a particular import transaction. This scheme that works inside the
            BOC covers all goods. This report however, will give more focus on
            rice importation/smuggling.

            Actual Importation Procedure and the TARA Scheme:

            1. First, the real importation owner/consiqnee, who usually does not
            have legal personality would look for or use dummy consignee in
            order that his importation may be processed.

            2. Second, the dummy consignee/importer, who has the legal
            personality (incorporated with SEC or registered with DTI) would
            accommodate the real owner and have his company name used by the
            real owner or financier.

            3. Third, the dummy consignee/importer would in turn engage the
            services of facilitators or players who know licensed brokers and

            Page 1 of 8 pages


    • karl garcia says:

      dang this just confirms na nilaglag nga si Ruffy not unlike sa paglaglag ke Sevilla.He had Danny Lim a good soldier(just don’t tell that to sen Trillanes, he will say Meh!) who was supposed to handle intelligence and nothing,Ruffy’s trusted lieutenant Captain Agudo could only do so much. Before any martial law something else has to change and it is no longer culture. radiation therapy,stem cells,regeneration …a cure must be found.

  51. Simple solution proposal: crack down on the tara system, close it down. But give customs people monthly incentive bonuses as a percentage of the revenue they help collect legally – this would literally make stuff whizz thru customs and improve Philippine trade while they still earn money.

    In fact this might be something that motivates the entire bureacracy, but you of course have to crack down heavily on ANY form of abuse and corruption or else it will not work.

    • sonny says:

      Maybe make them circle the wagons, Indians style. Or bounty-hunting, whichever ones work.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s better than my idea, concocted yesterday, which was to declare martial law within the ports and have three soldiers standing behind every official as they conduct transactions.

    • mercedes santos says:

      WOW that was a part of the course Pub Admin 101 . . . not just for tech administrators, org. administrators as well. Me likey, but will it catch chapo ???

    • edgar lores says:

      The carrot or the whip? Bonuses or Johnny’s firing squad?

      The difficulty with the carrot is that bonuses will have to approximate the illegal proceeds. And it would be unfair to all other government employees.

      I would favor dismissal and jail time and/or community service as you suggest.

      But, as in all things with problems of this nature, a multi-faceted and multi-phase strategy is required.

      Sending one good man like Sevilla is not enough. We need not just one hero but a platoon of heroes. The top tier must be replaced and a new workplace culture put in place. One that, yes, motivates but also punishes.

      There are many management practices and tools that can be adopted. The newly appointed top-tier must be familiar with these practices and be empowered to implement. Civil service rules may have to be relaxed for a period of time.

      But the entire BOC ecosystem must be first studied and analyzed because it seems to reach into the highest regions of the religio-politico-socio-cultural order.

      • A platoon of heroes who will replace the corrupt guys and gals in that bureau. These corrupt should be sent to Pag-asa Island to man the port there….grrrrr!

        • Bert says:

          Mary, send those guys to Pag-asa Island and in no time they will sell the island to China. The Chinese flag will rise there the next day.

          • argh…. you maybe right….so Pag-Asa Isalnd is out…

            So Bert, where we send them? Ok, I think Davao will be a great place for them, let Duterte’s daughter do the disciplining first, then the daddy will take over when she fails.

      • Ecosystem is too nice a word – in German they call such a place full of corruption and monkey business a “Sumpf” – a swamp. With mangroves, alligators, fish and amphibians of all sorts. To clean out a swamp, you have to drain it first, then burn the mangroves.

        There are old stories of monkey business every time a galleon arrived or left Manila – probably the root of this whole thing, an ancient but ecologically not valuable habitat.

  52. Lawrence says:

    Escudero is nothing but an example of a traditional politician and a political patronage at its best. As I said in my past comments, he will find issues that will make his name worth remembering. An absolute back fighter and will surely put a good man down without him knowing. An expert in monotonous speeches that will captivate ones mind if they were not aware of his real colors. If you’re going to examine his achievements in senate, it seems he isn’t a lawyer and acting like a mediocre coward.

  53. surfer sison says:

    With so much moolah involved, I do not see how Pnoy/ Mar Roxas is clueless about what is going on in there. If they are not involved, the other parties are getting a huge advantage they can use to fund their favorite chariti…, i mean, election “manok”. My only conclusion is that they are the biggest beneficiaries of this new ” arrangement” in the BOC.

    that is the brutal Reality. you do not win in Politics by being 100% pure and saintly.

    disclosure: i am pro-Pnoy

    • Joe America says:

      I agree that politics may be played, but it it beyond my comprehension that President Aquino would countenance theft to fund candidates. That said, I don’t know why Purisima and Ochoa (allegedly) overrode Sevilla on personnel matters. So into the information vacuum goes dismay, and mistrust.

  54. karl garcia says:

    in the LTO computerization also had many corruption,procurement,computerization issues.

    PISTON,et al wants nationalization of all privatized processes.

    I heard pistons claim thatCOA can easily audit agencies,COA can’t easily audit LGUs how can it easily audit all the agencies.

    For customs privatization and computerization has been blocked from the get go.

    Peter Wallace suggested privatization of customs more than once.

    Nationalization is not the answer and ,privatization is also not the answer that is why Public Private partnership must be done right.

    We have good procurement laws,but it is still a mess

    We can’t always blame the oligarchs,but for now let’s just blame them.

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