NEWLY appointed Customs chief Isidro Lapeña said Wednesday that he has ordered an investigation on the issuance of tax credit certificates, which has allegedly been a source of corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Lapeña said he initially did not believe in the "pasalubong" which is allegedly being given as a welcome gift to a new BOC head as he did not receive any or no one even tried to give him such.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, in a previous privilege speech at the Senate, accused former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon of having received a P100-million "pasalubong" when he assumed office last year.
But Lapeña said that after he signed tax credit certificates, a document that refunds taxes to importers, a concerned BOC employee told him that it was actually the source of the so-called "pasalubong."
"Two to three weeks ago, I started receiving bundles of folders for tax credit certificates so I signed this, it comes to my table, it has been processed, it is legitimate so I signed it and released it back to those who processed it," he said during the resumption of Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into P6.4-billion shabu smuggling in the BOC.
Lapeña said the tax credit certificate is being used by several unscrupulous customs personnel to prolong the process of shipments release until the importer pays a bribe.
"That is my thrust now to address the delays diyan sa bureau and I believe, if we are able to address the delays, yung slow process diyan, then we should be able to address the many problems in the bureau," he added.
[That is my thrust now to address delays in the bureau and I believe, if we are able to address the delays, the slow process then we should be able to address the many problems in the bureau.]
Lapeña said that after having been informed about the corruption in the bureau using the tax credit certificates, he immediately ordered a stop in the issuance of the document pending investigation.
He said they will meet with the representatives of the big companies whose tax credit certificates were put on hold to clarify that they do not need to bribe anyone for the movement of their shipments. (SunStar Philippines)