MANILA (Updated) -- Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday named the recipients and benefactors of the "tara system" in the Bureau of Customs (BOC), led by former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon whom the lawmaker tagged as "most corrupt" official in the agency.
In a privilege speech, Lacson said Faeldon is a recipient of the "tara system" in the BOC.
He accused Faeldon receiving a P100 million "pasalubong" or welcome gift from a group that has been operating in the bureau for quite a long time.
"If in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), under the previous administration, you and your stint with the infamous 'goodbye pabaon', sa Bureau of Custom naman you start your stint with a welcome pasalubong," Lacson referring to the bribe money received by Faeldon.
Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte should think twice if ever he is considering giving Faeldon another post in the government as he maintained that his source and his pieces of evidence at hand are "highly credible."
"Huwag na bigyan ng posisyon" Lacson said as he boo-booed Faeldon for claiming innocence in the existing "tara" (grease money) system inside the BOC during a previous hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Lacson, a former top police official, said Faeldon and his men have been receiving payoffs after they assumed office without hesitation.
"Kitang kita ang kita natin because it was so obvious that the enormous shipment was successfully smuggled under their noses through the indispensable participation of Customs officials. We can see the peso signs in billions," Lacson said.
With the backing of no less than the President, Lacson said Faeldon should have started the cleansing in the bureau by eliminating what has been corrupting the agency for so long--the tara system.
"Kaya lang kinain na siya ng sistema. He should have eliminated the 'tara system' but siya ang kinain ng sistema ng corruption, thereby effectively tolerating and even promoting the impunity of corruption," Lacson said.
The senator said that the government's war on drugs will not succeed without waging another war, which is the war on corruption.
The senator further said that during his stint as Philippine National Police chief he used the approach of "demand and supply reduction."
Lacson said the flow of the supply of drugs must be stopped or reduced from one of its sources, the BOC.
He said he gathered information from various sources starting from the top level, middle level, through the rank and file, and several players and others who provided him all pertinent information documents about the ongoing corruption in the BOC.
The lawmaker also revealed that 40 percent of the total 15 to 16 containers passing through the BOC weekly are giving the tara system.
The so-called big players or bagmen include Charlie Tan of the Davao Group, who was mentioned by customs fixer Mark Taguba in the previous investigations of the Senate and the House of Representatives into the P6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped in the country from China.
"Enormous shipment was successfully smuggled by these people," he said.
Lacson said the other big player or the so-called bribe givers include David Tan, Manny Santos, Teves Group (Joel, Jonjon and John Paul, Ringo, Jerry), Tina Yu, Jerry Yu, Eric Yap, Edvic Yap, Ruben and Mark Taguba, Noel Bonvalin, George Tan, Diongenes Dennis de Rama, Henry Tan, Bim Castillo, Atty. Veneer Baquiran, Jude Logarta, Henry Tan, George Wee, Johnny Sy, Armando (Burog) and Ruel Tolentino, Jun Diamante, Vic Reyes, certain Eunice of Davao, Gerry Yap, Arnold Saulong, Hope Arnulfo Saulong, Boy Sabater, Nero Andal, Lea Cruz, Aying Acuzar/ Eduardo Dio, Rey Tubig, Frank Wong, Chi Men, Arthur Tan, Charlie Tan of Davao Group and Anthony Ng, and Grace Bisaya
In the BOC, Lacson said everybody is happy and every Friday they call it the joyous "TGIF" (Thanks God It's Friday), referring to the weekly assembly due to bribe distribution of alleged on the take employees.
Lacson also said for the central office alone of the BOC they are receiving 5,000 to 10,000 for the commissioner, the assessment group and the intelligence.
Lacson identified the following collectors/bagmen:
* Atty. Christopher Bolastig and Estrella, 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 the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CISS);
* Atty. Larribert Hilario for the Risk Management Office;
* Magic or Major Salamanca for the Enforcement Group;
* Jasmin Obillos for Revenue Collection Monitoring Group;
* Sia Otto and Roy for Assessment and operation;
* Bien Rubio for the Intellectual Property Rights Division
* Atty. Tom Tagra for the Legal Service;
* Boy Garcia for Account Management Office;
* A certain Mamadra, Bobadilla and Mamao for the Custom collector, NAIA;
* A certain Hunk for District Collector in Subic,
* Efren Ambagan and a certain Guiao, for Customs Collector in Clark
* Alfred and Daniel Wagwag for the District Collector, Port of Manila,
* Jun Rapa for Deputy Collector for Operations, Port of Manila
* Ordoña, Bundukin and a certain Ante for Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), MICP;
* Lino Arroyo for ESS, POM.
Other names mentioned in the BOC include:
* Joel Pinawin, alleged collector of Director Neil Estrella,
* Director Milo Maestrecampo, Import and Assessment Service (IAS)
* Atty. Grace Malabed, Acting Chief, Account Management Office (AMO)
* Atty. Alvin Ebreo, Director, Legal Service under RCMG
* All Section Head, Appraiser and Examiners – Formal Entry Division in both the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and Port of Manila (POM)
* Athena Dans, Informal Entry Division, MICP
* MICP and POM Sections 1, 9, 10 and 15 Chief Appraiser and Examiner,
* Collector Jet Maronilla – MICP
* Collector Rhea Gregorio – POM
* Collector Edgar Macabeo – NAIA
* Collector Elvira Cruz – Cebu
* Collector Maritess Martin – Clark
* Collector Mimel Talusan – Subic
* Collector Reynaldo Galeno – Batangas
* Deputy Collector Mel Pascual – POM
* Captain Tikoy Guttierez – ESS, MICP (deceased)
Lacson also revealed that a prominent Customs official had received a total encashment of P5,109,000 as part of the tara system in the BOC.
Lacson said this corruption in the BOC is really a sickness that needs to be addressed as he expressed confidence that the newly appointed Customs Chief Isidro Lapena will take the challenge seriously by institutionalizing genuine reforms and by abolishing the corruption from top officials down to the last rank-and-file in custom. (SunStar Philippines)