Customs officials in Zamboanga City relieved over missing seized rice
The Bureau of Customs has placed under preventive suspension two officials in Zamboanga City after over 23,000 sacks of alleged smuggled rice went missing while under their custody, Malacanang said on Thursday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the administrative relief of Zamboanga District Collector Lyceo Martinez and Customs Police District Commander Felimeno Salazar were made after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an immediate investigation over the incident.
Duterte also ordered the Officer-in-Charge of the National Food Authority to place under preventive suspension individuals who could be part of the scheme.
"I got a text from the Executive Secretary asking me to inform the nation that the President was visibly upset with the missing 23,015 sacks of apprehended smuggled rice in Zamboanga City," Roque said.
Aside from suspending the two BOC officials, Roque said that according to Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena he also sent a team of investigators to Zamboanga City to probe the incident.
He said 16,000 sacks of rice have been recovered out of the 23,015 sacks of rice.
Authorities are trying to recover some 7,015 missing sacks of rice. Celerina Monte/DMS