Lacson links Faeldon to alleged Customs corruption

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday named Customs officials and employees, including outgoing Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, supposedly receiving "tara" or payoffs from Customs brokers.

Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, claimed Faeldon initially received "pasalubong" or another payoff of P100 million as he assumed office.

The "pasalubong" is like a welcome gift to a newly appointed Customs Commissioner.

FULL TEXT: Sen. Lacson's 'Kita-Kita sa Customs' privilege speech

"Kitang-kita, the lies, even granting Mr. Faeldon's assertion that he was working alone, if he was the principled man that he said he is, he should have stood firm even if he was alone," Lacson said, "Unfortunately, instead of going against the system, siya ang kinain ng sistema (he gave in to the system), thereby effectively tolerating and even promoting the impunity of corruption."

The alleged recipients include :

Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon

Deputy Commissioner Teddy Raval - Intelligence Group

Deputy Commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno -Enforcement Group

Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala of the Command Center

Deputy Commissioner Natalio C. Ecarma III of Revenue Collection Monitoring Group

Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco of Assessment and Operations Coordination Group

Director Neil Estrella - Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service [CIIS] (alleged to collect also for the Office of the Commissioner [OCOMM] 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 (one of the alleged collectors of Director Estrella)

Director Milo Maestrecampo - Import and Assessment Service

Atty. Grace Malabed, Acting Chief of the Account Management Office

Atty. Alvin H. Ebreo, Director Legal Service under Revenue Collection Monitoring Group

All Section Heads, Appraisers and Examiners in the Formal Entry Division in both the MICP (manila International Container Port) and POM (port of Manila)

Athena Dans of the Informal Entry Division MICP

All Section Heads, Appraisers and Examiners in the Informal Entry Division in the POM

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

Lacson said unimpeachable informants told him of a Customs official who received millions of pesos in cash and checks. He said the information was vetted and he stands by the credibility of his exposé.

He also discussed how the payoff system works, describing it as a systematic corruption inside the bureau-from consignees-for-hire, the selectivelane mechanism, to the payola system.

The senator added that the amount of "tara" varies according to the size of container, which could range from P31,000 to 71,700 per unit.

Lacson also disclosed names of the bagmen and players involved in the system, as well as the offices and officials.

They are:

Tina Yu

Jerry Yu

Manny Santos

David Tan

Jude Logarta

Eric Yap

Edvic Yap

Ruben Taguba/Mark Taguba

Noel Bonvalin

John Paul Teves

Gerry Teves

Joel Teves

Jan Jan Teves

Ringo Teves

George Tan

Diogenes "Dennis" De Rama

Henry Tan

Bim Castillo

George Wee

Atty. Veneer Baquiran

Johnny Sy

Armando "Burog" Tolentino and Ruel Tolentino

"Kimberly" Gamboa

Bobot Sison

Marty Pimentel of Cebu

A certain "Eunice" of Davao

Jun Diamante

Vic Reyes

Gerry Yap

Arnold Saulong

Hope Arnulfo Saulong

Boy Sabater

Nero Andal

Lea Cruz

Aying Acuzar / Eduardo Dio

Rey Tubig

Ruel Sy

Frank Wong

Chi Men

Jen Yu

Grace Bisaya

Arthur Tan

Charlie Tan of Davao Group

Anthony Ng

The bagmen/collectors:

Atty. Christopher Bolastig thru Russel and Estrella, and Atty. Genefielle Lagmay for the Office of the Commissioner (OCOMM)

Nanie Koh for Import and Assessment Service (IAS); Also included is a certain Lorna Rosario.

Joel Pinawin, Ollie Valiente, and Teddy Sagaral for Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS)

Atty. Larribert Hilario for the Risk Management Office (RMO) / Command Center (COMMCEN)

A certain "Magic" or Major Salamanca for the Enforcement Group (EG)

Bien Rubio, Jerry and Diego Santiago for the Intelligence Group (IG)

Jasmin Obillos for Revenue Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG)

Sia Otto and Roy for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group

Bien Rubio, again, for Intellectual Property Rights Division

Atty. Tom Tagra for Legal Services

Boy Garcia for Accounts Management Office (AMO)

Certain Mamadra, Bobadilla and Mamao for Customs Collector in NAIA

A certain "Hunk" for the Customs Collector in Subic

Efren Ambagan and a certain Guiao for the Customs Collector in Clark

Alfred and Daniel Wagwag for the District Collector,  Port of Manila (POM)

Jun Rapa for the Dep. Collector for Operations for POM

Alex, Atty. Mimi Aldave and Atty. Vener Baquiran for the District Collector, Manila International Container Port (MICP)

Jayson Calinap for X Ray in MICP

Agama and Junjun Reyes for X Ray at POM

For the Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) for Manila International Container Port: Ordoña and Bundukin with a certain "Ante" as runner; and

Lino Arroyo for the Enforcement and Security Service, Port of Manila

Some of those named by Lacson appeared before the House and Senate inquiries on the P6.4-billion drug shipment.

The so-clalled "big players" are dominated by David Tan, Davao Group, Manny Santos, a certain Kimberly, and the Teves group.

100-110 containers - David Tan

80-100 containers - Davao Group (Taguba belongs to this group)

80-100 containers - Manny Santos

80-100 containers - Teves Group

50-80 containers - "Kimberly" Gamboa

Lacson said the "Everybody Happy" tradition is nothing new in the Customs bureau, as there have been other meetings where officials and selected employees divide millions of pesos among themselves.

He added there appears to be a "partner-in-crime relationship between Chinese nationals and our corrupt government officials, complete with middlemen and bagmen."

Lacson called them a smuggling mafia, which is not afraid of the government including President Rodrigo Duterte, making it difficult to stop the importation of drugs.

"True, hunting down big-time as well as small-time pushers and drug addicts in the streets may suppress the drugs market. But, if our frontline government agency called the Bureau of Customs would allow, consciously or otherwise the convenient smuggling of tons of shabu into our country, it is impossible to win the battle against illegal drugs, simply because the supply reduction side of the anti-drugs strategy is failing miserably," Lacson said.

He recommended to President Duterte not to place or re-assign Faeldon to any government office, following his resignation.

Lacson also said that he vouches for newly appointed Customs Commisioner Isidro Lapeña and hopes that he doesn't get "eaten by the system."

Faeldon, however denied Lacson's allegations, saying he has not asked anybody to collect tara for him nor has he accepted 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. No is no," Faeldon said in a statement.

He hopes justice and truth will come out.

"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," Faeldon said.