By Betheena Unite
Outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon fired back at Senator Panfilo Lacson’s accusations by linking the senator’s son into “smuggling billion peso-worth of cement into the country.”
Showing documents as he spoke before the members of the media in his neighborhood in Taytay, Rizal, Faeldon revealed that Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr. has already brought in 67 shipments of cement into the country during Faeldon’s one-year stay in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Faeldon disclosed that through Bonjourno Trading, which was registered as a computer trading with Lacson Jr. as and the company’s managing director, had already shipped a total of 19,795, 775 bags of cement worth P4, 651, 883, 750 from June 2016 to the present.
Faeldon questioned how the company with only P20,000 capital would be able to import billion-peso worth of cement.
According to Faeldon, he discovered the suspicious activity during his first days as the Customs commissioner.
Faeldon said that alert orders were issued over the shipments on July 12, 13, 15 and October 10 last year due to undervaluation of freight by more than 50 percent.
The document presented by Faeldon showed that the first alert happened on July 12 on the entry of a shipload of 150, 000 bags of cement through the Port of Iloilo. The next day, July 13, another shipload of 130, 050 bags of cement were placed under alert in the Port of Dadiangas. Two days later, an alert order was again issued on a shipload of cement at the same port.
On Oct. 10, 2016, a shipment was put on hold at the Port of Legazpi. All shipments were under the Bonjourno Trading.
Faeldon said it was only recently that he discovered that there were 63 more shipments carried out by the Bonjourno Trading.
And as they dug deeper, Faeldon said they learned that Pampi was the managing director of the company, saying that he visited Faeldon’s office few times before to “pay the dues” which according to Faeldon was a clear attempt to bribe him.
“Alam naman ni Mr. Lacson (Pampi) na walang kahera doon bakit siya nagdala ng pera doon at sasabihin sa staff ko na doon siya magbabayad. (Mr. Lacson knows that we have no cashier in my office, so, why would he bring money there and tell my staff that he’ll just pay there). Is he trying to bribe my staff? I gave the senator the benefit of the doubt. Baka hindi niya ang ginagawa ng anak niya. But yesterday he seems to know everything about the Bureau of Customs,” Faeldon lambasted.
Motive behind allegations
The embattled official questioned Lacson’s motive in accusing him and other Customs official of receiving “tara.”
“Bakit mo sinira yung mga reputasyon ng mga tao na parehas natin kilala, ano bang motive mo, Sir Lacson (Why are you destroying the reputation of these people that we both know, what is your motive, Sir Lacson)?” Faeldon asked.
“Let us talk about Lacson,” he later declared contrary to the anticipation that he will talk about the “tara” and P1-million “welcome gift” issue.
“Tanungin kita player ka ba? P20,000 lang ang capital ng anak mo. Ito ang kinakatakutan mo, Sir (I ask you, are you a player? Your son has only P20, 000 capital. What are you afraid of, Sir), because we are now getting closer on getting you, on exposing you,” Faeldon continued.
Based on the four alert orders, Faeldon said the senator’s son “consistently wanted to pay only 50 percent dues and giving fake documents.”
“Kung hindi magtugma ‘yan, smuggler po kayo unless sabihin mo sa’kin na hindi mo alam ang ginagawa ng anak mo (If that does not match, you’re a smuggler unless you tell me that you know nothing about your son’s business),” Faeldon said.
Faeldon continued to air his lament by accusing the senator of using him and his team for publicity.
“Why did you come up with that? Gusto mong tumakbo bilang presidente? Gusto mong magpasikat (Do you want to run for president? Do you want publicity) in the expense of my family? Nagtatago ka sa immunity mo (You’re hiding behind your immunity)? Gusto mong tumakbo (You want to run) by destroying me?”
Top cement smuggler
Faeldon said that according to the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, Bonjourno Trading is the number one cement smuggler in the country.
“I have documents. This is not just gossip. According to the cement manufacturers in the Philippines, Bounjourno is the number one cement smuggler in the country,” he said.
“Now, Sen. Lacson the responsibility to investigate this is no longer in my hands. I also challenge the new commissioner to reveal all this,” he added.
He said that Lacson’s case was just a small piece of the puzzle as he bared that there are other higher officials involved in smuggling.
“I can name all of them but I’m not irresponsible. I do not want to destroy the reputation of innocent people para magpasikat lang (just for publicity). But they want us out. They want us all out because they are afraid of me,” Faeldon said.
He, however, vowed to come up with the list of other government officials involved in smuggling.
No P100-million ‘welcome gift’
Even as Faeldon downplayed the issue, he later said that the P100-million “welcome gift” was not true. Instead he admitted that before assuming office he was offered a lower bribe.
“There was one attempt to bribe me with P300,000 weekly by an importer but it was not the direct importer who went to me but a third person, I did not accept it,” he said.
He said it was offered to him through a “random text.”
Faeldon also expressed willingness to sign a document waiving his right to bank secrecy to prove that he is not corrupt.