Sacked Davao Port Collector Aradanas not replying BOC Manila texts, calls. Where is he? Sec. Purisima sacks him for “loss of trust and confidence”

(late upload oct 18, 2014 news)

“Are Aquino-loyal yellow generals placed in the Bureau of Customs on backroom back-stabbing in turf wars for secret deals?”

The dismissed top official of the Bureau of Customs Port of Davao is not replying to texts and calls from officials in BOC Manila headquarters after he left his post Monday.

Former BOC Davao port district collector Ernesto Aradanas was sacked coming on the heels of the charge that he allegedly allowed oil smuggling in the sub-port of General Santos.

Dismissed BOC Davao Port District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas
Dismissed BOC Davao Port District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas

BOC national public information and assistance chief Charo Logarta that Aradanas had not replied to the texts messages and calls from her and other BOC Manila officials she knew who had messaged him.

In separate reports, it was known that Aradanas was dismissed from service last Oct. 1 but he only received the termination order in BOC Davao last Monday, Oct. 13.

It was Department of Finance (DoF) Sec. Cesar Purisima who ordered his removal via BOC Commissioner John Sevilla who mailed the dismissal order that the secretary signed last Oct 1 “on the ground of loss of trust and confidence.”

“(B)ased on reasons previously made known to you during your meeting with the Commissioner of Customs (Sevilla), we would like to formally notify you of the expiration of your term of service with this department (DoF) on the ground of loss of trust and confidence. This shall be effective immediately upon receipt hereof,” Purisima said.

Aradanas, a brigadier general, assumed as BOC Davao district collector last Feb. 3, 2014.

Thus, he just served in the post for 8 months and 10 days, making BOC Davao to have a throwback to several episodes of having shifting OIC collectors and even headless last year during the shakeups for reforms highlighted by the resignation of then Commisioner Ruffy Biazon.

He is the fifth district collector designated in eight months’ time when the BOC became shaky due to reform moves that triggered personnel transfers and reshuffles following the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) where the BOC was castigated for the continued rampant smuggling happening in the country’s ports.

Aradanas, a member of Class ’79 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) joined the BOC after being hired as ‘Project Manager 3’ at the Office of Revenue Agency Modernization (ORAM) at the DOF.

He is known to be a member of Aquino-loyal yellow generals who were placed in the corruption-hounded customs bureau.

With Aradanas’ departure from a plum post in Davao, “are Aquino-loyal yellow generals placed in the Bureau of Customs on backroom back-stabbing for turf wars in secret deals?” asked a source long transacting with the BOC Davao .

A broker interviewed said on the condition of anonymity that “Aradanas and his men” have been so strict with the transacting brokers and shippers while “there always a legal reason or ground to use to deny or to disapprove our papers with the so many customs laws and orders  we have to comply.”

Logata said in phone interview that as far as she knew Aradanas is “still in Davao wrapping up things.”

Logarta said that Commissioner John Sevilla directed BOC Davao administration-operation head Atty. Dante Maranan to be the OIC district collector of the Davao Port, which covers the sub-ports in General Santos City, Mati City and Parang, Maguindanao.

Insinuations swirled that he dilly-dallied in issuing the tougher Writ of Seizure and Detention (WSD) on the smuggled oil shipment of 260,000 liters that arrived in Gensan sub-port first week last September.

On the next day, Tuesday Aradanas issued his press statement explaining his actions on the issue and made parting swipe at superiors for terminating him without due process.

He stressed he did not resign and asked for impartial probe.

The first report received by BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa said that the shipment arrived in the sub-port Sept. 6, but in Aradanas subsequent probe it arrived Sept. 4.

Aradanas in his press statement said that he “was only informed about the oil shipment, sometime on 09 September 2014.”

It was then was the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) “was already asking who within the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should take custody of the said shipment including the vessel and the truck,” he added.

It was a composite team of the PCG and Dellosa’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) team that apprehended the shipment in Gensan sub-port.

Aradanas said that “there was no written authority/request from the BOC to the PCG regarding this operation or the very least, notice from the District Collector of Davao.”

The shipment was already lacking of 163,000 liters when Aradanas made his hold order following the joint PCG-CIIS operation.

So it appeared that Aradanas did not know of the shipment in 6 days, from Sept. 4 arrival to Sept 8 as it as was only Sept. 9 when he got knowledge of it as he claimed.

The shipment came from Malaysia and first entered into the country via the port of Jolo, which cleared it.

When it was already cleared the port of Jolo, the shipment’s import status was deemed terminated and it was then “shipped locally to a private port located in Tambler, General Santos before it was apprehended by the composite team,” Aradanas argued.

Earlier, there were reports received by BOC Manila intelligence office that “all sorts of merchandise are being brought into the country under the very noses of customs officials especially in areas under the jurisdiction of the Port of Davao under Coll. Ernesto Aradanas that include the sub-port of General Santos .”

A report said that there is virtually an “oil pipeline” that has been existing between Malaysia and the Philippines starting from Sabah and ending up at various ports in Mindanao, which was lately uncovered by the Customs Intelligence Group (IG).

It was revealed that smuggling has become rampant in Mindanao thru the so-called ‘Malaysia-Philippine smuggling pipeline.’

“The majority of these smuggled items are allegedly being cleared in the Port of Davao and its two subports,”the report said.

“I purposely did not inform Coll. Aradanas about the operation so I can ‘validate’ the report independently and it turned out to be true,” former AFP chief of staff Dellosa said.

BOC Manila CIIS officials earlier said that amid Aradanas’ dilly-dallying of his WSD unscrupulous persons succeeded in spiriting out the content of M/T Elaine even as Dellosa said that pressures were mounted by the shipment assignee to the apprehending composite team to release the shipment.

There was a report received by Dellosa that all the gasoline was already gone.

A report said that when the information was received by BOC Manila, Sevilla then twice called up Aradanas to issue a WSD on the shipment but the latter cannot be reached for unknown reason.

Aradanas, however, issued an AO (alert order) so the BOC can legally hold the shipment for further examination and investigation.

Aradanas’ spokesperson Fatima Espino of BOC Davao debunked the report that all the gasoline “was all gone”, saying that there are still “around 97,000 liters (that) remain in the vessel prior the issuance of the WSD.”

Aradanas only issued the WSD on the shipment last Sept. 22,  or 18 days after it arrived Sept. 4.

In Aradanas’ chronology issued to this reporter last Thursday,  he said that on Sept. 12 Sevilla called him up to issue a WSD against the shipment. On that day also he motored to Gensan sub-port to personally look into it and issued an alert order on the same day.

Aradanas said that after the alert order he subsequently made 100% examination on the subject shipment, conducted more probe, asked for comments and recommendations from Zamboanga port, and an expert opinion from Dept. of Energy from laboratory test made on oil’s sample, and asked recommendation for WSD from CIIS Davao.

“On 23 September 2014 WSD no. 50-2014 was issued against the shipment of premium gasoline, the local vessel M/T Elaine and the Lorry Truck carrying the discharged petroleum gas for violation of Section 2503 and Section 2530 of TCCP,” Aradanas said.

But when the WSD came, it was already pilfered. Investigation is still going on where the pilfered gasoline went to. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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