Philippines crushes sports cars in Duterte graft warning

Philippines crushes sports cars in Duterte graft warning

Duterte luxury cars crushed
An overview of crushed luxury vehicles at a ceremony at the customs yard in Manila on Feb 6, 2018, after they were seized for being smuggled illegally. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte watched bulldozers flatten dozens of sports cars and other luxury vehicles Tuesday (Feb 6) as part of a drive to fight corruption at the country's customs bureau.

A Jaguar, a Lexus, a Corvette Stingray, and dozens of top-end German sedans and Japanese SUVs were crushed at a customs yard in the capital Manila. The vehicles were seized after they were smuggled in, authorities said.

A total of 30 vehicles worth a combined 61.6 million pesos (US$1.2 million) were scrapped in Manila and two other cities on Duterte's orders. He had previously said that smuggled cars will be destroyed to send a message to wealthy car owners who do not pay the right import duties.

The president has made fighting corruption and illegal drugs the cornerstones of his six-year term.

"Reduce them to scrap metal," Duterte said in a speech to customs employees after the event.

Duterte car crush 3
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks with Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena as they inspect luxury vehicles prior to destroying them at a ceremony at the customs yard in Manila on Feb 6, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Normally, seized smuggled vehicles are impounded and then auctioned with the government taking the proceeds.

"I will pay for them, no problem," Duterte said.

The Bureau of Customs collects duties on imports and is one of the state's key revenue-generating agencies. It consistently tops independent surveys as one of the country's most corrupt government agencies.

Customs commissioner Isidro Lapena said in a speech at the ceremony that he has reassigned 691 of his some 7,000 employees since he took office in August last year.

Two other employees were dismissed and 16 others have been suspended over alleged illegal activity, he added.

Duterte car crush 2
A bulldozer crushes luxury vehicles at a ceremony at the customs yard in Manila on Feb 6, 2018, after they were seized for being smuggled illegally. (Photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Source: AFP/zl

Bookmark