Duterte reveals names of officials suspected of smuggling

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte revealed to the press a list of government officials under investigation for alleged smuggling and corruption.

Duterte, at the sidelines of his meeting with Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on Wednesday, read to the press a list of government officials under investigation.


The list includes Department of Public Works and Highways Assistant Secretary Tingagun A. Umpa and Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Moslemen Macarambon Sr. The president had previously asked these persons to tender their resignations. Macarambon resigned following Duterte's order.

READ: Duterte orders Assistant Secretaries from DOJ, DPWH to resign – Roque

The Chief Executive said that he would forward the list to the Ombudsman for investigation.

"Lahat ito i-fo-forward ko sa Ombudsman… Mas gusto ko yung sa Ombudsman para walang sabi." Duterte said.

[Translation: I will forward all of this to the Ombudsman… I would prefer for the Ombudsman to process it.]

The list are as follows:

  • Atty. Amrosi Basman - Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Legal Researcher Admin
  • Atty. Rohani D. Basman
  • Anisah M. Lomontod
  • Amilkhyr C. Macabando - former Marawi City Mayor
  • Samina Sampaco Macabando-Usman - prosecutor
  • Atty. Benjamin B. Lanto - officer-in-charge Pasay City prosecutor
  • Clemente Villanueva - inquest prosecutor
  • Atty. Florencio dela Cruz - assistant city prosecutor
  • Atty. Marlon Agaceta - Chief of the Legal Division of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)
  • Elizabeth Pableo - officer-in-charge for the Arrival Operations Division
  • Moslemen Maracambon Sr. - Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary
  • Ramon J. Anquilan - NAIA District Collector
  • Adsar Albani - NAIA Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (NAIA-CIIS) Director
  • Butch Ledesma - CIIS Head
  • Lomontod Macabando - Customs Operation Officer

Most of these officials have been recommended for preventive suspension.

In a press conference the next day, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Greco Belgica clarified that in this list were officials allegedly involved in dealing with smuggled jewelries worth millions of pesos at the NAIA. The jewelry were allegedly smuggled from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Bangkok, Thailand.

"Eto po ay isang imbestigasyon na matagal na po naming inaabangan at sinusubaybayan that involves four agencies of government: [Department of Transportation], [Department of Finance], Bureau of Customs and Department of Justice," Belgica told reporters at Malacañang Thursday.

[Translation: We have long awaited and watched for the result of this investigation, that involves four agencies of government]

Belgica said that these people under investigation could have connections to the Office of the Prosecutor.

The commissioner cited the arrest of Lomontod Macabando and two other men by customs agents at NAIA for smuggling approximately P6 million worth of jewelry on May 5.

He added that the same group under investigation was caught in a similar case last December, smuggling P6 million worth of jewelry, but DOJ Assistant Secretary Macarambon intervened.

"Imbis na i-confiscate at i-charge ng Customs, pinababayaran, pina-a-arreglo," Belgica said.

[Translation: Instead of the Customs confiscating the goods and charging them, they were made to pay and settle.]

According to Belgica, their modus operandi is to have an official on call to settle things in case the smuggler gets caught by Customs.

He added that this group is only one among the possible eight syndicates that they are investigating that use the same modus.

"We have reason to believe that they are one organized group doing this connected to many different offices and taking advantage of the complex systems, and using government officers," the commissioner said.

Belgica said that there's reason to believe that high-ranking government officials, some incumbent, could be involved in this syndicate, which has smuggled at least P10 million.

"They smuggle many, many things, jewelry and drugs ginamit nila pareho [they deal with both]," Belgica said.