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Palace says calls for DOF chief Dominguez to resign have no basis

Malacañang said Wednesday it sees no reason for Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III — who it praised as having a "superb work ethic" — to leave the Cabinet amid allegations of a lack of initiative to curb corruption in the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Non-government Coalition Against Corruption (CAC) on Tuesday called for the resignation of Dominguez, arguing that he appeared to be “unconcerned” about the corruption in the two revenue-generating agencies under his supervision.

The group also questioned Dominguez’s “silence” on the drug smuggling issue at the BOC and said the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to tap the military to oversee Customs operations was an indirect admission of the DOF’s management failures.

Reacting to the CAC’s statement, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said: “The Palace finds no reason or basis for such call.”

“Secretary Dominguez continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of [President Duterte],” Panelo said in a statement.

“As one of the President’s trusted economic managers, he steered our economy to become one of the best-performing growth leaders in the region and continues to perform remarkably,” he added.

Panelo also said revenue collections reached new record-highs during Dominguez’s stewardship.

“We expect Secretary Dominguez to maintain his superb work ethic for the rest of his stint in the Department of Finance,” the Palace official said.

Panelo also claimed Dominguez was aware of the corruption issue hounding the BOC.

“The corruption in the BOC is complex and the Secretary does not need to be blunt just to exhibit what he does to address it,” Panelo said.

“He was in touch with former BOC Chief Isidro Lapeña and he is slated to meet with the new Customs head Rey Leonardo Guerrero regarding the bureau’s operations,” he added.

Guerrero early on Wednesday took over the leadership of the BOC from Lapeña, who was transferred by Duterte to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as its new director general following criticism over the alleged smuggling of P11-billion worth of shabu last August. — MDM, GMA News