Senator Leila de Lima has asked the Senate to look into what she branded as the “unconstitutional move” of President Rodrigo Duterte to temporarily place the Bureau of Customs (BoC) under military control.
Last October 29, Duterte announced a “military takeover” of the BOC amid corruption issues hounding the agency.
But the President later clarified his statement saying the military would only assist BOC personnel as he had placed the heads of the agency’s offices and sections on floating status.
De Lima nevertheless asked the appropriate committee in the Senate, through Senate Resolution (SR) No. 949, to conduct an inquiry on the issue.
In filing the resolution, the senator expressed fear that the “militarization” of the BoC might impede its operations, “and as a result, might gravely affect the collection of revenues, the lifeblood of government.”
De Lima insisted that Duterte should follow the Constitution which provides that military officers in active service could not be appointed to a civilian position in the government especially because there is no “state of lawlessness” at the BOC.
“The operationalization of the military take-over of the BOC threatens to violate the provisions of the Constitution on the proscription against the assumption by active military officers of civilian functions and civilian offices, aside from other basic principles of a republican and democratic government as enshrined therein,” she said in the resolution.
She also hit the President’s move to ask the military “to solve every problem of the country.”
This, De Lima said, reflects Duterte’s “predisposition to ultimately have a military junta take over the country.” /cbb
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