MANILA - On the surface, it looked like any old road-rage case, except that this one escalated well beyond the everyday realm of fisticuffs.
A minor fender bender between two cars - one a Porsche - sparked an altercation. Things quickly got out of hand when the Porsche driver pulled out a gun and took some shots at the other driver. He missed, and was later arrested.
When police investigated, things really went south for the gun-wielding driver, Mr Paulino Elevado. It turned out he was a Customs officer, and the cops' questions turned naturally to how a civil servant earning less than 10,000 pesos (S$295) a month came to be driving a Porsche worth about 5 million pesos.
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'It's not just the personnel, but it's also the system that we're dealing with here. If we really want to change the system, we might as well abolish the bureau and rebuild from scratch.'
Customs chief Rufino Biazon, who was appointed by President Benigno Aquino five months ago to fight graft
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'He offended people who are personally known to me as well as offended society which has been expecting government personnel to be true public servants instead of abusing the authority vested in them.'
The port clerk, however, maintained that the sports car did not belong to him - although local media found the car's licence plate registered to an Elevado. The case, which made the headlines in Manila, has highlighted huge problems the authorities face in trying to clean up the Philippines' corruption-riddled Customs bureau.