After being granted legislative immunity, Import broker mark taguba named customs officials who he allegedly bribed so his shipments can exit customs unhampered and uninspected.
Taguba approached during the hearing of the committee on dangerours drugs import and assessment service director milo maestrecampo, Deputy commissionner teddy raval, Manila international container port or micp ciis district intelligence officer teodoro sagaral, Micp district collector vincent philip maronilla And customs intelligence and investigation director niel estrella.
While absent from the hearing, taguba also named A certain major gutierrez who is dead and Individuals known as jason and maita of the formal entry division; “Jojo”, “Jake”, “Sandra”, and “Alfred”.
Thats aside from the names in a list he submitted to the committee which also showed who got how much.
Taguba clarifies there are people who collect for those he named.
Taguba said in all, about 27 thousand pesos is paid per container every day so a container van can leave port uninspected, aside from 40 thousand pesos in taxes. the amounts ranged from 500 pesos to 10000 pesos distributed to the Intelligence Group, a collector, the import assessment service, the CIIS and the formal entry division among others.
Deputy speaker miro quimbo wants a certian tita nanny summoned to the next hearing, who quimbo later named to be hernani co of the the auction divisiom. Those named and present quickly denied the accusation against them.
Maestrecampo decried that his name has been ruined, and bared his intent to resign his post and subject himself to a thorough investigation.“I’m not recieveing money from anybody; I am content with my sahod. When I go back to the Customs I will step down from my post. I will subject myself to any investigation. I am probably a rebel but I’m not a thief,” he said.
However, he also said that personally he believes “this thing”, or corruption, persists in the BOC.
Raval stressed he has never talked to Taguba, while estrella, Maronilla and Sagaral also denied the allegation. Raval said, ““I have not met Mr. Taguba prior to his meeting. I have not talked by phone or in person to Mr. Taguba”, he said. Taguba confirmed Raval’s statement, saying he is talking to a certain “Gerry” in Raval’s office.”
Maronilla admitted having met Taguba before but denied receiving bribes. He said he has not authorized anyone to accept anything for the District Collector office. However, Taguba said there was a “collector” for the purpose.
Estrella admitted that while they committed lapses in the drug raid, he denied receiving any bribe money in connection with the P6.4 billion shabu. “Napakalaking epekto po nito sa amin. Ang pakiramdam ko ho sa ngayon, ito ho ang risk ng ating profession. I will face my accuser in the proper forum.,” Likewise, Sagaral denied Taguba’s allegation, saying his record of over three decades of service to the BOC is clean. He said he met Taguba only on three occasions.
Pressed by quimbo Taguba admitted the payola is not limited to the names he mentioned .Taguba also claimed someone is claiming for customs commissionner nicanor faeldon. Taguba said his average transaction with Customs is 100 containers a week. He said he sends the bribe money to the concerned Customs official on a weekly basis, every Friday. Taguba said he has a courier who delivers the bribe money. He said one Chris Bulastig claimed that he is the one collecting for the office of Commissioner Faeldon. Taguba admitted he has no transaction with Bulastig so far.
Taguba rejects allegations his shipments had drugs, pointing out that his shipment was delivered may 24, but the customs report is dated may 23.
There are 16 containers in the delivery for emt trading.
House majority leader rodolfo farinas also zeroed in on the lapses of the nbi in the raid, which included the poor questionning of the supposed informant Richard Chen, who is also the owner of the warehouse.
Lawmakers again looked into the lapses of the customs in the raid done without a search warrant.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas lamented the failure of the BOC and the National Bureau of Investigation to file charges against Richard Chen (Tan), the owner of the warehouse where the P6.4B worth of shabu was seized. Fariñas said the NBI should have handcuffed Chen immediately because he was in constructive possession of the shabu shipment. Dennis Siyhian, chief of the NBI Anti-organized and Transnational Crimes, who led the NBI team in the raid on the shabu warehouse said that initially he considered Chen a suspect until he was told by BOC Intelligence Chief Neil Estrella that Chen is the informant who gave the tip on the illegal shabu shipment. Fariñas criticized the lapses of the BOC and the NBI, noting that to date the authorities have yet to find out the real nationality of Chen. Rep. Wes Gatchalian said the incompetent handling of the raid by the BOC and the NBI has weakened the evidence against the suspects that the court will likely dismiss the charges against them. He noted that the raid was conducted without the benefit of a proper warrant from the court and instead supported only by a Letter of Authority from the BOC. Gatchalian pointed out that to date the only one charged by authorities in connection with the P6.4B shipment is a certain Anoche Dee, the caretaker of another warehouse of the drug shipment consignee. He also raised the possibility that Richard Chen may have already left the country. Chen did not show up in the hearing despite invitations extended to him.
Dep. Commissioner Natalio Ecarma said he believes there is continuous drug smuggling through the Bureau of Customs. BOC Intel chief Neil Estrella admitted the BOC has not filed any charges against Customs officials/employees suspected of involvement in the smuggling of P6.4B shabu through their green lane. Rep. Rodel Batocabe said it was Estrella who is responsible for filing of charges against those involved and so he cannot wash his hands by tossing the responsibility to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Kenneth dong, alleged consignee of the shabu shipment skipped the hearing but promised to attend the next one while Faeldon too was absent citing a dental emergency.
Congressmen also grilled basketball and volleyball players hired by the bureau to be intelligence agents and technical assistants. Upon questionning, it was revealed that they were supposed to improve the bureau’s image. Athletes hired by BOC admitted they were not actually trained to perform intelligence work but actually served only in sports-related and image-building activities for the bureau. They also said they were not required to report regularly to the BOC because they were doing “field work.” This is contrary to the claim earlier of Faeldon. The Committee on Dangerous Drugs told the athletes that BOC is not in the business of image-building. He said nothing will improve the image of BOC better than improving their revenue collection effort to reach their target.
Congressman vicente veloso asked where the bureau got their salaries.
Farinas asked customs to explain how it measured the output of the athletes.
former Phil. Basketball Association stars Kenneth Duremdez, Marlo Aquino and EJ Feihl said they do not actually report to the bureau. Neither were they trained for intelligence work, according to the athletes.
Atty. Mandy Anderson admitted the athletes were hired without the benefit of bidding. Rep. Vicente Veloso said this could constitute violation of law against technical malversation. Anderson also admitted Faeldon authorized her to sign for the daily time record of the athletes hired by BOC under Faeldon. Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said that since the athletes were not actually reporting for work she could be liable for falsification of public documents.
Fariñas noted that the DTR is a public document and if Anderson made it appear the athletes reported for work when they did not is tantamount to falsification of public documents.
The Majority Leader also said that since Anderson is not a government official, as indicated in her contract with the BOC, Anderson is also liable for usurpation of public authority since she is performing tasks properly performed by a public employee. However, Anderson admitted that she is serving the bureau in a contractual capacity and that she is not a public employee. For her work, Anderson said she is receiving P50,000 a month from the bureau.
“But you are a young lawyer, we will not go after you,” Farinas said. Upon questioning by Rep. Miro Quimbo, BOC Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma confirmed that Atty. Anderson is one of the Customs lawyers who were not awarded MCLE review certificates because it was found out that they did not attend completely the 5-day review and instead asked someone to stand for them on particular days. Quimbo also denounced the alleged lies of Anderson, who claimed that Faeldon designated her to sign the DTR of the athletes because for the first three months from assuming office he was the only one running the bureau. However, Atty. Liza Sebastian proved the claim false by testifying that she was appointed OIC of the Intelligence Group in August 2016, around the time the athletes were hired by the BOC. Anderson got in the crosshairs of lawmakers after she called speaker pantaleon alvarez an imbecile in a facebook post.
The House has conducted 4 hearings in 2 committees. On the investigation continues wednesday in a hearing of the ways and means committee.