"Be Cool Man"

Light penalty for extortion irks nun


LEGAZPI City – The nun who complained of extortion and rude treatment at the hands of two drunken Customs officials in Bicol last December said she is not happy with the light penalty imposed by Bicol Customs collector Titus Sangil.

Sr. Felicitas B. de Lima, executive director of the Foundation of Our Lady of Fatima Center for Human Development based in Iriga City, aunt of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and sister of Philippine Economic Zone Authority director general Lilia de Lima, said she went to Customs to pick up a shipment of tax-exempt used clothes to be distributed to the poor with a foreign missionary and a DSWD employe last Dec. 21.

She said Customs examiner and Informal Unit Assessment Division head Oscar Pablo and Port Operations division chief Ernesto Miranda, both inebriated, treated her and the foreign missionary rudely while administrative aide Asther Marinay tried to cover up for the two.

De Lima said she has yet to receive a copy of the decision issued by Sangil last Jan. 21 but she was told Pablo and Miranda were merely reprimanded and admonished.

In her complaint to Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez dated Dec. 21, the nun quoted Miranda as asking the foreign missionary with questions like, “Are you a priest, married? How many children and Filipino wives do you have?”

She said Pablo demanded 10 boxes from the shipment and even told her to personally unload the boxes from the container van. When she replied that it was the job of Customs personnel, she said Pablo ordered the van closed.

The three accused denied De Lima’s charges, saying they knew she was a nun, and accused her of dropping the name of the DOJ chief, a claim confirmed by acting deputy Bicol Customs collector Salvador Ruivivar who said the Justice secretary called their office on Dec. 21.

Sangil, who is a lawyer, said the sanctions meted to Pablo and Miranda are fair while admitting that the two were drunk during office hours. He absolved Marinay’s alleged coverup due to lack of evidence.

De Lima, who claimed that Pablo and Miranda are closely identified with Sangil, said she will decide on her next move when she gets a copy of the decision. She said the light penalty would only reinforce corruption. – Melany B. Ugalde


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