Amid P6.4B drug shipment probe: BOC’s intel chief resigns, denies wrongdoing

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  • CIIS chief Neil Anthony Estrella resigned from post after Customs broker tagged him as corrupt
  • He denied broker’s accusations, recounted their achievements while in the BOC
  • He also said he will continue to support president’s reforms

MANILA, Philippines – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Neil Anthony Estrella has resigned his post after Customs broker Mark Taguba identified him as one of the officials allegedly receiving bribes to smoothen the entry of contraband into the country.

“It is with deep regret—not least because of the tremendous trust you have reposed in my position and because of the renewed support you have extended our leadership—that I write to resign as Director of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (IIS) of the Bureau of Customs (BOC),” read his resignation letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte thru Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. “I have realized over the past days that I will no longer be able to fulfill my duties in the manner we both desire. The sensitivity of my office and the methodology it entails have now been compromised by unnecessary publicity. I hope my resignation paves the way for an impartial investigation and leads to substantive reforms in the BOC.”

Recounting how his office was behind the two largest drug busts in recent history, Estrella denied Taguba’s accusations he was corrupt and on the take.

“I would like to assure you that I have never participated, and never would I participate, in any cover-up or bungling of an investigation for personal gain. I have acted in good faith in all my actions, the law and love of country my only compass,” he said. “Even as we are put in a crucible, the undeniable fact remains that we are able to prevent 605 kilos of shabu worth P6.5 billion pesos from proliferating in the Philippine market; and, thus, protect millions of drug dependents and a greater number of Filipino families from its ill effects. Few can lay claim to such a gargantuan haul in recent memory.”

Estrella added that his conscience remains clean and that he will continue to support the president’s reforms along with the Customs personnel who remain untainted by corruption.

“I shall continue to espouse your advocacy if not in government, (then) in other capacities. I thank my family and friends for their support. Finally, I salute the many men and women of the BOC, who now suffer the stigma of a tainted organization but do their jobs well anyway,” he said. “They believe in meaningful change. There is hope because of them. Hope is a good thing. And every good thing prevails.”