Faeldon: Customs to file case against Pampi Lacson

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — The Bureau of Customs will file criminal charges against Senator Ping Lacson's son for alleged smuggling and undervaluing imports of millions of metric tons of cement into the country, outgoing customs chief Nicanor Faeldon said Monday.

"We will file a case — exactly what we did [with] the thousands we are doing now, silently... once all this evidence is completed," said Faeldon, referring to Bonjourno Trading, the company of Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson, Jr., the senator's son.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Faeldon said Senator Lacson's "motivation" for his August 23 expose against the embattled customs chief was because customs was wrapping up evidence of attempts by the younger Lacson's to smuggle in and undervalue cement imports. The evidence was to be used to file criminal charges, he added.

"What I'm trying to show to the country here is the motivation of the senator why he summarily tried to discredit us," said Faeldon. "Because we are nearing here," he said, referring to a list of cement importations by different companies, including Bonjourno Trading, in 2016 and 2017.

The documents given to CNN Philippines by Faeldon show that from January 6, 2016 to June 15, 2017, Bonjourno Trading, brought in cement in the volume of 964,087 metric tons, worth P2,307,230,622.00 (US$45 million) on 74 occasions. Of these 74 transactions, 62 were recorded as having been valued at $8.00 per metric ton, instead of what Faeldon said was the usual $16.00 per metric ton.

"Ngayon, kung inuna ko to si Pampi at wala tayong ebidensya sasabihin po sa akin ni Senador Lacson, 'Nic naman, pinag-iinitan mo yata 'yung anak ko,'" Faeldon said.

(Translation: If I went ahead and accused Pampi without enough evidence, Senator Lacson would've told me, 'Come on Nic, you must have be after my son.')

The commissioner has been trading accusations with Senator Lacson, who tagged Faeldon as abetting corruption at the Bureau of Customs.

Faeldon added that he first gave the younger Lacson the benefit of the doubt given the lack of evidence.

"Immediately I gave the benefit of the doubt, assumption of regularity, [to] Junior because I know his father... Sabi ko, baka nagkamali lang yung bata. Baka hindi nga niya alam talaga na ito ang dapat gawin [I said, maybe he made an honest mistake. Maybe he just doesn't know what to do]," said Faeldon.

However, Lacson's speech gave him reason to believe he was out to get Faeldon and his team, the commissioner said.

Related: Lacson links Faeldon to alleged Customs corruption

Faeldon has maintained his innocence and shot back, saying Lacson's son has been undervaluing shipments of cement and is liable for smuggling.

Related: Faeldon accuses Lacson, son of smuggling

Faeldon said they expect to decide on the fate of 1,400 more importers by September 15, 2017. This, on top of the 800 importers whose brokerage licenses have already been suspended or cancelled, he added.

"I have filed at least six criminal charges already against importers, criminal cases already. We did not announce that. I have decided 800 cases already, and 800 plus have been suspended and cancelled. And again, we are conducting silently, matatapos sa September 15 another 1,400," said Faeldon, whose last day in office is August 31.

Nonetheless, Faeldon said he does not view Lacson as an enemy, and he is willing to apologize if proven wrong.

"This is about the truth... And then if it will be proven later on that let's say yung accusation niya sakin e hindi naman totoo [that his accusation against me is false], I think apology is in order," said Faeldon.

"If I will fail to prove that there is an activity, irregular activity of his son, e talagang I will apologize, every time that I am in public."

Faeldon denies 'pasalubong' from Teves brothers

Faeldon also responded to Lacson's claims that he received P100 million as a gift whe he assumed office.

According to Lacson, John Paul, Gerry, Joel, Jan Jan, and Ringo Teves were among the importers involved in paying off Customs officials.

But Faeldon maintains he actually blocked shipments from the Teves brothers, including 86 shipments of red onions.

"If you ask them, siguro makita ako niyan papatayin akong magkakapatid na yan e, because they are now out of business," said Faeldon.

"After that, meron pang several attempts nila, nahuli pa rin e. So the records will hear me out here. So tumatawa ako e."

[Translation: If you ask them, if they see me, they might want to kill me, because they are now out of business. After that, they had several more attempts but they still got caught. The records will hear me out here. That's why I am laughing.]

Faeldon is also supportive of an independent investigation into corruption at the Customs, particularly from a team formed by the President. He criticized recent senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings into corruption at the Bureau of Customs, calling it a "hearing in aid of grandstanding" instead of in aid of legislation.