Cebu customs collector suspended over unexplained wealth

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Monday, June 3, 2013

A CUSTOMS collector in Cebu will be out of work for six months in connection with forfeiture and administrative cases filed by a fact-finding team of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Placed under preventive suspension is Maximo dela Peña Reyes, Collector IV of Port of Cebu, whose unexplained wealth allegedly amounted to P89,194,806.37, with undeclared or misdeclared assets worth P44,562,440.67.

Aside from noting a P57.3-million increase in his net worth for the period of 2000 to 2010, the anti-graft agency said he did not file his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) for the years 2001 and 2009.

The Ombudsman's field investigation office conducted a lifestyle check on Reyes after receiving a report on his frequent plane travels.

FIO then filed criminal and administrative charges against Reyes, and requested that preliminary investigation, administrative adjudication and forfeiture proceedings be conducted against him by the agency.

Cebu is one of the top performing revenue districts of the Bureau of Customs, exceeding its target of P8.6 billion last year after collecting P8.76 billion.

But the BOC has been rocked by corruption and smuggling for years, pushing Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon last April to propose for its abolition and replace it with an institution run by private professionals.

He said reforming the BOC is not just about chopping off heads of corrupt employees and officials. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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