Lacson files graft, economic sabotage raps vs. Faeldon

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — Senator Panfilo Lacson filed administrative and criminal charges against former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon before the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday.

Lacson said Faeldon should be charged with graft, grave misconduct, and economic sabotage over large-scale agricultural smuggling, for allowing the entry of smuggled rice in Cagayan De Oro City early this year.

This proves that Customs officials are paid off, Lacson said. He has accused Faeldon and several other Customs officials of receiving payoffs from brokers to let shipments through, citing "loud whispers" in the BOC.

Read more: Lacson links Faeldon to alleged Customs corruption

In his complaint, Lacson said Faeldon authorized two shipments of Vietnamese rice consigned to Cebu Lite Trading Inc. even though it failed to secure required importation permits.

Customs intelligence officers supposedly flagged the shipments because of the lack of permits, but Faeldon issued an endorsement letter authorizing the processing of the rice shipments worth about $680,000 or over P34 million.

Faeldon may face life imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office if found guilty of large-scale agricultural smuggling, a non-bailable offense under Republic Act 10845.

Aside from Faeldon, National Food Authority administrator Jason Aquino, other former and current Customs officials, and officers of Cebu Lite Trading Inc. were also named as respondents in the case.

 

Faeldon said he is confident Lacson's complaint will be dismissed.

"If your garbage complaint is not dismissed outright by the Ombudsman for utter lack of merit, I will squarely address your fake allegations with facts and evidence. Truth is justice," Faeldon said in a statement.

"Enough of your self-confessed obsession against me. Sinasayang mo ang buwis ng sambayanan (You are wasting the people's taxes) for your personal and ill-motives," he added.

But Lacson said he is gathering documents to file more complaints against Faeldon over other smuggling incidents.

"May nagtanong sakin minsan bakit parang obsessed kayo? Yes, sabi ko obsessed ako to prove my point kasi I raised this issue and he keeps on challenging it," Lacson said.

(Translation: "Someone asked me one time why do I seem obsessed? Yes, I said I am obsessed to prove my point because I raised this issue and he keeps on challenging it.")

"Yung mga ibang active na mga Customs officials and personnel, medyo atubili sila na magbigay ng affidavits dito, may dalawang testigo rito na taga roon mismo sa Customs," he added.

(Translation: "Active Customs officials and personnel are quite hesitant to give affidavits on this issue, there are also two witnesses from Customs.")

Faeldon is detained at the office of the Senate sergeant-at-arms for refusing to attend Senate hearings into the P6.4-billion shabu shipment which slipped through the BOC last May.

The Senate Ethics Committee earlier held in abeyance the ethics complaint Faeldon filed against Lacson, citing Faeldon's refusal to appear before the Senate probe. 

Lacson earlier said Faeldon initially received "pasalubong" or another payoff of P100 million when he assumed as head of the BOC in 2016.

Following Lacson's speech, Faeldon held a press conference accusing Lacson's son, Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr., of undervaluing cement shipments.

Read more: Faeldon accuses Lacson, son of smuggling