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Speaker Belmonte not meddling in Customs: brother

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President Benigno S. Aquino III graces the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Philippine M.I.C.E. Conference (MICECON 2013) at the 3rd Floor, SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premiere in Davao City on Thursday (March 07, 2013). The MICE Conference is a prestigious gathering of key players in the travel and tourism industry. The conference will provide the Host an opportunity to showcase its destinations to approximately 400 stakeholders in the tourism industry comprised of: travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, resort owners, professional congress/ exhibition/event organizers, association/corporate executives, destination management companies, airline representatives, local government officials, academe, students and the media. In photo are Senator Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (MNS Photo).

President Benigno S. Aquino III graces the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Philippine M.I.C.E. Conference (MICECON 2013) at the 3rd Floor, SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premiere in Davao City on Thursday (March 07, 2013). The MICE Conference is a prestigious gathering of key players in the travel and tourism industry. The conference will provide the Host an opportunity to showcase its destinations to approximately 400 stakeholders in the tourism industry comprised of: travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, resort owners, professional congress/ exhibition/event organizers, association/corporate executives, destination management companies, airline representatives, local government officials, academe, students and the media. In photo are Senator Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (MNS Photo).

MANILA  (Mabuhay) — Customs Collector Ricardo Belmonte denied Friday that his brother, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, uses his influence to gain favors at the Customs bureau.

The Speaker’s younger brother is currently the head collector of the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT). He is reportedly one of the most influential figures in the bureau for getting favored posts even under the Arroyo administration.

The younger Belmonte used to be the district collector for the Cebu port and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Never nakialam sa akin sa trabaho ko si Speaker Belmonte. kahit kailan. I entered the bureau wala pa sa pulitika yung kapatid ko. Di ko siguro kasalanan na binoto sya ng mga tao para maging pulitiko,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, 34 years na ko sa bureau. Di po ako inappoint ni Speaker Belmonte dito sa bureau,” he added.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, meanwhile, defended Belmonte, saying he deserves his current post at the MICT due to his experience and capabilities.

“In my 20 months, not once did he call or send communication to me to affect operations or my decisions. Kung may nagsasabi ginagamit ni Belmonte yung pwesto, they should come out in the open,” he said.

Meanwhile, Customs Deputy Commissioner Danny Lim refused to identify the powerful people who allegedly interferes with the bureau’s operations.

Lim said he will share his information with Deputy Commissioner Juan Lorenzo Tañada, who also revealed that some senators and congressmen were acting as “padrinos” of employees in the bureau.

Both Lim and Tanada have offered their courtesy resignations. (MNS)

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