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The President has No Jurisdiction Over the Comelec Unlike the Customs

customs


By: Elena Grace Flores

Since the Bureau of Customs is under the Department of Finance, it is directly under the Office of the President. The Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, and their staff may be removed by President Rodrigo Du30 when he loses confidence in them. On the other hand, the Commission on Elections is an independent constitutional office established under the constitution. The Congress of the Philippines has the authority over the agency through the drafting of resolutions that can change election laws and agreed upon by the Supreme Court as per the judicial review of such acts.



YouTube video by ABS-CBN News

[VIDEO]: Civilian personnel still ‘in control’, says new Customs chief


Impeachments by the Congress

Therefore, the Commissioners of the Commission on Election can only be removed through impeachment proceedings where only the Congress can facilitate. As a result, it is not possible for any judicial reviews to allow any military takeover to happen. This is very different from the circumstances surrounding the Bureau of Customs. This is why abuses in the poll agency can flourish because the abusers can build their supporters among lawmakers.


No Active Soldiers at the Customs

Malacañang clarifies that soldiers will not be given appointments or designations at the Bureau of Customs. This is after critics said that a military “takeover” at the bureau would violate the Constitution. President Du3o said he wants the military to “take over” Customs. He appoints Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the country’s former military chief, to the corruption-ridden agency.


Shabu Shipment Incident

Du30 recently removed Isidro Lapeña as Customs chief. Lapeña was criticized over the multi-billion shabu shipment that allegedly slipped past the country’s ports. He also announced that all Customs officials and personnel will be on “floating status.” In a Palace news conference, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, said: “the President is not appointing or designating any member of the armed forces.”



State of Lawlessness

Panelo argued that the situation at the Customs is akin to “lawlessness” which must be addressed by the President at all costs. “The Constitution says when there is lawless violence, the President can call out the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.


Just to Intimidate

Panelo also explained that the soldiers who might be sent to the Customs will still have to answer to AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr., not Guerrero. This is just to intimidate abusive customs personnel. Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that there’s no “military takeover” order from the President at all. He would, however, take part in the drafting of the guidelines for the plan, along with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. The people should know by now why Du30 acted out quickly on the customs’ case. Whereas undermining the Comelec’s incompetence amidst the revelations on digital electoral fraud.


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