Lacson urges Ombudsman to fast-track raps vs Faeldon

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson called Tuesday on the Office of the Ombudsman to speed up the graft charges against former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon who he accused of raking millions of pesos during his stay in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Lacson, who filed a complaint of graft and economic sabotage charges against the former BOC chief, said he has in his possession several documents that can support his claims on the rampant corruption in the BOC under the watch of Faeldon as he mentioned that the threshold amount in agricultural products that reached at least P34 million.

The senator disclosed that the case is connected with the abandoned rice with no import permit which the senator said was revealed by Faeldon himself during the hearing conducted by Senator Cynthia Villar who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture.

"He (Faeldon) released the rice to the alleged smugglers. Abandoned in favor of the government, forfeited na. It is supposed to have been bid out. He caused the release and allowed the release of the rice. Seventy-seven containers of rice," Lacson said.

Lacson urged the Ombudsman to review all the documents he submitted and to expedite the investigation against Faeldon for allegedly fostering corrupt practices in the BOC as he confirmed that the latter received P107 million "pasalubong" or the so-called welcome gift in 2016, which was disclosed to him by Faeldon's successor, BOC Chief Isidro Lapeña.

Lacson said Lapeña confided to him that Faeldon received at least P107 million pasalubong when he joined the BOC last year.

"Somebody whispered to him [Lapeña] one of the sources at least yung TCCs [tax credit certificates]. These are big companies na binibigyan ng certificates na pwedeng gamitin for future payments or be converted to cash. Billions of pesos ito. Sometimes the commissioner would sit on the application for TCCs. Other sources are the players themselves," Lacson revealed.

Lacson said the Senate blue ribbon committee has given Faeldon sufficient time to face him but the latter has refused to face the investigation.

"I just hope the OMB will expedite the investigation of this case because all the documents are there," said Lacson.

At the same time, Lacson revealed that the TCC is one source of corruption in the BOC as he disclosed the supposed cut of 7 percent in TCC.

It was also revealed that the Command Center created by Faeldon and headed then by former military Captain Gerardo Gambala supposedly to monitor and stop corruption has been used by his alleged cohorts to promote abuse and corruption in the BOC by centralizing the powers, and removing the authority of district collectors who was tasked to issue alert orders.

"There are 11,000 plus containers a day that come to Philippine. Between POM [Port of Manila] and MICP [Manila International Container Port] which is P15,000 to 16,000 containers a week," Lacson said.

"According to our sources 40 percent of that any mayroon Tara. Compute namin and we came up with 2,000 containers a day subject to tara. and the OCOMM [Office of the Commissioner] was receiving P5,000-10,000 per container. If you are talking of 2,000 containers sa low-end na lang tayo sa 5,000, that a good P10 million a day," Lacson said as he revealed that Faeldon raked millions of pesos during his stint as BOC chief.

Lacson also denied that his son, Panfilo Jr., was his dummy in the alleged smuggling of cement in the country as claimed by Faeldon.

The senator shrugged off the allegations against his son and challenged Faeldon to file the necessary charges against them in court.

Lacson said he is more than willing to face any investigation on Faeldon's allegations against him.

Earlier, Faeldon accused Lacson of hiding behind the cloak of his immunity and filed an ethics complaint against Lacson. (SunStar Philippines)
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