Duterte allows soldiers to ‘forcibly open’ suspected drug shipments from Customs

By Ina Andolong, CNN Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte said late Wednesday that he has allowed soldiers to randomly and forcibly open suspected shabu shipments coming in through the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

This, after he ordered the military to take over the BOC following officials’ admission that an alleged multi-billion peso drug shipment may have slipped past them.

Giingnan nako — si Chief of Staff sa Army, bungkaga na tanan, og di ka makuntento ihulog sa dagat aron way samok. Ingna bayran nato sila ugma. Nganong mopasubo man ta ana? So the best thing to do here is to buy another X-ray machine, 7,000 gud na para mabahin unya mahinay-hinay og tan-aw,” Duterte said in an event in Cagayan de Oro.

[Translation:I told the Chief of Staff of the Army to open everything and to throw it in the sea if they’re not contented just to avoid any more issues. Tell them we’ll pay them tomorrow. Why should we take that risk?  So the best thing to do here is to buy another X-ray machine to be able to thoroughly inspect the 7,000 containers.]

Critics  have called out the President’s directives to let soldiers handle operations in Customs.

Article 16, Section 5(4) of the Constitution reads: “no member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”

While the President has yet to comment on this, he admitted that his latest orders to help rid the BOC of corruption is akin to government militarization.

“I will not allow that. I will not sit as President and let you render me inutile as you continue with your corruption there in Customs right in front of me. P***** i** niyo. Now you have a problem. They say it’s militarization of the government, correct,” he said.

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