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Faeldon, 14 others tagged crooks in BoC

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday accused former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon of “promoting” corrupt practices in the Bureau of Customs, even mentioning a report that the former rebel officer received a P100-million payoff as a welcome gift shortly after he assumed the BOC post in 2016.

In his privilege speech, Lacson also named bribe givers, bag men, and collectors at the Bureau of Customs based on “vetted and cross-matched” lists provided to his office.

According to Lacson, 40 percent of the total 15,000 to 16,000 containers, or 6,000 to 6,400 containers passing through the BOC weekly are “with tara” or bribes.

Faeldon denied receiving P100-million payoff as a welcome gift shortly after he assumed the post in 2016, saying in a statement he did not receive or ask anyone to collect money for him

“I have not asked anybody to collect tara for me nor have I accepted any tara from anybody. Again, I have not done any form of corruption in my many years of government service nor tolerated those who tried even in the form of request,” Faeldon said.

“No is no. The country will appreciate if a third party investigation by a competent body will be conducted so that justice will be served. Just like the Honorable Senator Lacson and the Filipino people, I want the truth to come out,” he added.

The so-called “big players” include the Davao Group, which Customs fixer Mark Taguba earlier disclosed in the ongoing Senate probe on the P6.4 billion worth of shabu smuggled from China last May.

The other four big players are David Tan, Manny Santos, Teves Group, and a certain Kimberly. 

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Lacson revealed the other top-ranking Customs officials he claimed received grease money from bribers: 

Deputy Com. Teddy Raval–Intelligence Group, Dep. Com. Ariel Nepomuceno-Enforcement Group, Dep. Com.  Gerardo Gambala of the Command Center, Dep. Com. Natalio C. Ecarma III of Revenue Collection Monitoring Group, Dep. Com. Edward James Dy Buco of Assessment and Operations Coordination Group, Dir.  Neil Estrella–Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (alleged to collect also for the Office of the Commissioner together with Chris Bolastig);

Atty. Zsae de Guzman–Chief, Intellectual Property Rights Division, Atty. Larribert Hilario of Risk Management Office, Joel Pinawin, OIC Chief, Intelligence Division of the BOC (one of the alleged collectors of Director Estrella); Dir.  Milo Maestrecampo–Import and Assessment Service; 

Atty. Grace Malabed, Acting Chief of the Account Management Office and Atty. Alvin H. Ebreo, Director Legal Service under Revenue Collection Monitoring Group.

Also on the take are all  Section Heads, Appraisers and Examiners in the Formal Entry Division in both the MICP and POM; Athena Dans of the Informal Entry Division MICP; all Section Heads; Appraisers and Examiners in the Informal Entry Division in the POM;

MICP and POM Sections 1, 9, 10, and 15 Chief Appraiser and Examiner.

Saying that “hell is empty and all the devils are at the Bureau of Customs, Lacson tagged Faeldon as the top beneficiary of the “bribe money,” also called as “payola” or “tara” at the country’s most corrupt government agency.

In describing the BOC, Lacson paraphased William Shakespeare’s “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here” quote to portray a horrible place, filled with horrible people doing horrible things to other horrible people. 

When Shakespeare mentioned this many, many years ago, Lacson said he had never thought  at that time that more than 10,000 kilometers away and some 400 years later, he would be describing the Philppines’ present-day BOC.

And for the devils, he noted “the BOC is heaven—a heaven that is a haven for crooks, criminals, malefactors, and faeldons… sorry, I meant felons.”

While he did not mention the amount Faeldon had been getting from bribers at the BOC, Lacson said an unimpeachable source provided him with information involving a prominent Customs official.

Lacson said the source told him  that Mr. Customs Official’s total encashment amounted to Five Million One-Hundred Nine Thousand Pesos (P5,109,000) from May 16 to June 28, 2017. 

The following breakdown follows: P1.5 million check deposit on May 16, 2017,  P1.2 million check encashment on June 01, 2017, P699 thousand encashment on June 05, 2017,  P1 million encashment on June 08, 2017, P910 thousand encashment on June 19, 2017 and  1.3 million encashment on June 28, 2017.

Lacson also said “loud whispers” in the four corners of the BOC  compound told of a 100-million-peso ‘pasalubong’ to the newly-installed Commissioner, a quarter of which, or P25 million was retained as finder’s fee by his middleman named Joel Teves.

“If in the AFP, under a previous administration, you end your stint with the infamous ‘Good bye Pabaon.’ at the Bureau of Customs you start your stint with a ‘Welcome Pasalubong.’  Holy mackerel! With just the welcome, you are already earning as much,” Lacson of the outright cash incentive.

He said accepting this welcome gift was much like a slippery slope, citing the saying  “Corruption is like a ball of snow. Once it’s set a-rolling it must increase [its roll].” 

“And just like taking illegal drugs, they find themselves addicted to bribes in exchange for favors. The happiness of the corrupt continues. Indeed, loose morals will blur lines,” said Lacson.

He assailed Faeldon, also of the Philippine Military Academy, of having been gobbled up by the system at the BOC. 

“Unfortunately, instead of going against the system, he was eaten by the system, thereby effectively tolerating and even promoting the impunity of corruption,” pointed out Lacson. 

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority has designated an officer-in-charge as temporary replacement for assistant general manager Allen Capuyan who went on leave last Tuesday after his name cropped up during the Senate hearing on smuggling involving government officials.

MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal designated retired Armed Forces of the Philippines Brig. Gen. Romeo Labador as OIC for the agency’s Security and Emergency Services division, replacing AGM Capuyan.

Capuyan, according to Monreal, filed his leave of absence after Customs broker Mark Taguba tagged him, at a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, in alleged irregularities relative to corruption happening in the Bureau of Customs.

“After I came back from Clark this afternoon, Col. Allen Capuyan came to see me. He filed his leave of absence saying he wants to focus his efforts in clearing his name after it was mentioned by Mark Taguba in today’s Senate hearing. 
I respect his decision; so effective tomorrow August 23, I am designating an Officer-in-Charge to replace him during his absence,” Monreal said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing presided by Sen. Richard Gordon, Taguba said one “Tita Nani” introduced him to a group led by a certain “Noel” and Capuyan, who allegedly used the alias “Big Brother.” 

Although he accepted Faeldon’s resignation, the President has maintained he believes in the integrity of the former soldier who was  one of the major players in the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Peninsula seige during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Faeldon quit his post after P6.4 billion worth of shabu from Xiamen, China, was smuggled into the country through the BOC last May.

Even granting Faeldon’s assertion that he was working alone, Lacson said if he was the principled man that he said he had been, he should have stood firm even if he was alone.

During the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Commissioner Faeldon admitted that he was aware of the so-called “Tara” system even before assuming office. With Vito Barcelo and Joel Zurbano

Topics: Senator Panfilo Lacson , Nicanor Faeldon , Bureau of Customs , Mark Taguba , Customs officials
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