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Customs security guard investigated for P1.9M in bank accounts

A Customs security guard at the Port of Manila has been suspended and is currently being investigated for allegedly having about P1.9 million in several bank accounts.

According to an exclusive report by Jun Veneracion on 24 Oras on Wednesday, Renly Tiñana has only had one plantilla position at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) since 2002: Security Guard 2. At the port, Tiñana was assigned as a spot checker to inspect shipments and drew a monthly salary of P14,000.

However, an investigation by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) has found that Tiñana keeps nearly P2 million in different bank accounts.

"Given 'yung salary grade niya, if at all, it warrants na kami ay tingnan namin kung ito ba ay naakma sa kakayahan niya o sa kakayahan ng pamilya niya na magkaroon ng ganito kalaking deposits," said Customs Assistant Commissioner Jet Maronilla in the report. 

The CIIS looked into four bank accounts allegedly belonging to Tiñana, containing funds amounting to P1.9 million. 

Investigators took special notice of large funds that entered and exited the accounts, including P2.5 million that was deposited and then withdrawn on the same day. 

"Ang naging red flag lang din kasi sa investigation ng CIIS, sa pagkakaalam namin sa report na ginawa nila, eh yung period kasi ng April at saka May, medyo substantial yung transactions ng pag deposito," said Maronilla. 

The BOC has sought the assistance of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to look into the bank transactions, and has also requested a lifestyle check on Tiñana from the Department of Finance (DOF), of which the BOC is a part.

The Customs bureau has also tapped the National Bureau of Investigation to help with the criminal investigation.

Grave misconduct

According to the report, the bureau learned of Tiñana's bank accounts after the arrest on May 20 of a fake Customs employee who supposedly would deposit money into the security guard's accounts.

More than P150,000 in cash was confiscated from the fake employee inside the Port of Manila, as well as deposit slips and Tiñana's alleged passbooks. 

An administrative case has been filed against Tiñana, who has also been slapped with a three-month preventive suspension.

On June 20, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero instructed that Tiñana be charged with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of public service.

Tiñana's lawyer declined to be interviewed on camera for the report, but showed GMA News their written comment on the Customs investigation.

The Tiñana camp's comment claimed that the P150,000 carried by the fake employee was part of the salary of Tiñana's wife, who earns much more than her husband, and that the BOC should return the money as well as some of his personal property.

The CIIS, however, does not think much of the explanation. "Sa investigation na ginawa ng CIIS, it would seem na hindi siya justified, kasi ang recommendation ng CIIS ay mag-file ng administrative charges," said Maronilla. — BM, GMA News