DOJ assistant secretary resigned even before Duterte called him out

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Department of Justice assistant secretary Moslemen Macarambon Sr submitted his resignation long before President Rodrigo Duterte asked for it.

Macarambon, however, said Wednesday, May 16, his letter of resignation was not for the reason Duterte mentioned when he called for the termination of two assistant secretaries.

“I have already tendered (my) courtesy resignation to the President as early as April 25, 2018, in compliance with the Memorandum of the new Secretary of Justice, the Hon. Menardo Guevarra to give him a free hand to perform the mandate given to him by the President,” Macarambon said.

“Hence, my resignation is not because of my alleged intervention in behalf of gold smugglers but due to the above-stated memorandum,” he added.

Macarambon was among the two officials named by the President to resign in the wake of corruption allegations.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press conference Tuesday, May 15: "Investigation conducted by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) revealed that Asec Macarambon has regularly been intervening on behalf of suspected smugglers of gold and other precious jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport."

Macarambon dismissed PACC’s claim as baseless, saying the agency did not observe due process.

Macarambon said the issue against him could possibly be an incident December 20, 2017 at NAIA, when he was asked by his relatives to talk to the Bureau of Customs. At the time, Macarambon's uncle Abraham Mimbalawag, aunt Bangsaan Mimbalawag, and daughter-in-law Zorhaya Mimbalawag-Macarambon were intecepted for bringing in expensive jewelry with an estimated total amount of P7 million.

His relatives sought his help of the assistant secretary because they were asked to pay customs duties worth P6 million, said Macarambon.

“Believing that the amount is highly exorbitant (about 86% of the value), I proceded to the BOC and requested for a re-computation of the taxes as well as the penalties to be imposed,” he explained.

Macarambon said the duties were recomputed and brought down to P1,368,017. But he warned his relatives that “I would never intercede in their behalf again.”

“I maintain that asking for a re-computation is not corruption. In fact, the result would show the fairness of the government in collecting the correct taxes from its citizens,” he added.

Macarambon said it was the only time he helped the relatives who found themselves in trouble at Customs. He said it was unfair to claim that he had been intervening “on behalf of suspected smuggers” more than once “without verifying the facts of the case.”

He called out the PACC for not observing due process and for being “to eager to please the President at the expense of some government officials.” – Rappler.com

Rappler: News

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