ABS-CBN News : 'Hahabulin namin kayo': Marcos says to 'reduce corrosive influence of corruption' in gov't

By Job Manahan | ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED)— President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on Thursday said he will fight the "endemic" corruption in government, starting with the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Marcos Jr. said the pandemic-battered economy "will simply not succeed" if the 2 revenue-generating agencies fail to collect tariffs and taxes efficiently.

"Of course hindi mo matatanggal sa usapan—let’s not pretend—na ‘pag pinag-usapan Customs at saka BIR, ang daming corruption," he said in an interview with 3 media outlets.

(Of course when you talk about Customs and the BIR, you cannot pretend that there is no corruption.)

"There is no place for, there should not be any place for corruption. Unfortunately, in some areas naging endemic na talaga 'yung corruption (corruption has become endemic). You have to really dig deep," he said.

Marcos Jr. said the BIR has to make all its processes "more efficient" and make the public understand the tax structure. Meanwhile, equipment and ports should be upgraded to raise the collections of the customs bureau, he said.

"Corruption—kalimutan na lang natin ‘yong nakaraan. Huwag nating sasabihin, that was not under my watch, hindi ako namamahala noon. Ngayon, ako na ang namamahala, so wala nang ganyan. At kung meron pang ganyan, hahabol-habulin talaga namin kayo at hindi pupuwede ‘yan," Marcos said.

(Let's forget the past. Let's not say it was not under my watch, I wasn't the one leading then. I am the one leading now, so there would be no more of that. And if there is nay, we will go after you and we will not allow that.)

"We have to, at the very least, reduce the corrosive influence of corruption in government as a general rule," he added.

Marcos Jr. said he has received "many applications" for potential heads of the 2 agencies.

"I'm sure we will find the right people. I have a fairly good idea of who has been able to show performance," said the President-elect.

WILL HE RUN AWAY FROM PENDING CORRUPTION CASES?

The President-elect will not run away from his pending cases, his incoming press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

"Pending cases will continue, of course, because they are pending cases," said Angeles.

"I think the approach as you had expounded in previous interviews is not to concentrate too much on fault finding or on sins of the past because in his words, 'Ako na ang namamahala ngayon' (I am the one in charge now)," she said.

Marcos Jr. earlier said that he plans to turn the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) into a "real anti-corruption" agency under his administration.

The PCGG was established in 1986 to go after their family's ill-gotten wealth.

Marcos and his family have been hounded by allegations of corruption during the rule of his father, who was toppled by a peaceful revolt in 1986. The government has recovered P174 billion in Marcos ill-gotten wealth, according to the PCGG.

The family denies any wrongdoing. Matriarch Imelda has been found guilty of several counts of graft in lower courts, but has won most of her appeals in higher courts. None of the members of the former first family has been imprisoned.

In March, the finance department said the Marcos family and their estate administrators "have not paid" outstanding estate taxes valued at P203 billion.

— With a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News