Davao Port collector Aradanas leaves post to ask to impartial probe, hints a swipe at Commissioner Sevilla

(late upload oct 15, 2014 news)


Bureau of Customs Port of Davao District Collector Ernesto Aradanas left his post yesterday, Tuesday but he stressed in a press statement he issued that he “did not resign.”

“Instead (I) requested for an impartial investigation of the alleged oil smuggling, because I believe the Port of Davao did what is the most appropriate process and protocols in addressing the issue,” he said.

“I am saddened by the arbitrary decision of Commissioner (John Sevilla) for my termination, who may be fed himself inaccurate information.  When objective consideration of facts and when due process are junked, arrogance and abuse of authority follow, then ‘reforms’ is doomed,” Aradanas statement added.

He hoped the “truth and justice will prevail in the end.”

He denied that he allowed the illegal entry of 260,000 liters of smuggled gasoline at the Sub-Port of General Santos.

“When the said oil shipment arrived at General Santos City, it is considered a domestic cargo because it already entered at the Sub-Port of Jolo, Sulu which was cleared by the Customs authorities of the port upon compliance with the required Customs formalities including submission of pertinent documents like Load Port Survey Report issued by Bureau Veritas and payment of the duties, taxes and other charges due thereon,” the embattled Davao district collector explained.

“Section 1202 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines provides: ‘Importation is deemed terminated upon payment of the duties, taxes and other charges due upon the articles, or secured to be paid, at a port of entry and the legal permit withdrawal shall have been granted,” he added.

“Nevertheless, in order to protect the interest of the government, I issued first an Alert Order while the hearing on the existence of probable cause was on-going in compliance with the due process of law as required by Section 2535 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.”

“I eventually issued the Warrant of Seizure and Detention on 23 September 2014 on the day I left for the 8th BIMP-EAGA Heads of Customs Meeting in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, even when our fact finding was not yet complete.”

“The shipments integrity remains as it was at the moment when the Commissioner gave me a “direct order” to issue WSD (12 September 2014) without established probable cause by the Port of Davao, contrary to the insinuation that I delayed the process to allow the illegal discharge of the said shipment.”

“Finally, some reports were also indicating that I belong to the “corrupt and non-performing officials” being rid as part of the new policy direction of BOC.  Contrary to such insinuation, my accomplishments as District Collector of the Port of Davao show that my port is one of the best performing Collection Districts of Bureau of Customs.  In fact, the Commissioner himself gave the Port of Davao a Plaque of Commendation just very recently for outstanding performance for the past months.”

“It is heartwarming though to note, that the men and women of the Port reacted and came to my defense through open letters & manifestos addressed to the Honorable Secretary of Finance Cesar V. Purisima and to the Honorable Commissioner of Customs attesting to my good leadership and our outstanding accomplishments.”

“I hope for an impartial investigation of the case, not really to hold on to my post but more so to set the records straight and somehow recognize the organizational dysfunction that transpired which emanated from the Intelligence Group of Bureau of Customs.  When institutional systems and the Tariff and Customs Code of the Phillippines (TCCP) will be replaced by personal biases the good intentions of the customs transformation is lost,” Aradanas statement concluded.

The statement was e-mailed to this reporter Tuesday at around 2 P.M. yesterday, Tuesday. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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