• House panel wants Customs abolished

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    The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs is recommending the passage of a law that would replace the Bureau of Customs (BoC) with a new tariff collection agency, after several hearings on the P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs smuggled into the country in May.

    “Pass a legislation to replace the Bureau of Customs by a new revenue collection agency or instrumentality of government with different system of collection to avoid corruption and to increase revenue collection,” the panel recommended.

    The House committee, in a 57-page report, recommended for investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman resigned Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, for violating the anti-graft law.

    Among the acts that Faeldon allegedly committed was “jeopardizing and/or weakening the chances of the Government to secure conviction of any case that may be filed for causing the BoC operatives to deliberately search and seize” illegal drugs, without a written authority.

    Faeldon, the report charged, hired basketball and volleyball players for various positions even if they were “not actually reporting/working in the said offices.”

    The House committee called on the Justice department to file a falsification complaint against lawyer Mandy Therese Anderson, who allegedly signed the daily time records of basketball and volleyball players hired as intelligence agents or personnel by the BoC.

    Evidence planted

    The report also urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to file a complaint against Faeldon for planting evidence in connection with the P6.4-billion shipment.

    Faeldon, an ex-Marine captain, allegedly decided to stage a “controlled delivery” of 100 kilograms of shabu to a warehouse on F. Bautista Street in Ugong, Valenzuela City without proper authority.

    Dennis Siyhian and Catherine Nolasco, investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division (NBI-AOTCD), should also be charged because they allegedly failed to turn over 500 kilos of shabu to PDEA’s custody, the report said.

    This was supposedly in violation of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1 Series of 2002.

    Importers charged

    According to the committee report’s executive summary, the NBI-AOTCD filed earlier this month a complaint for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) against Chen Ju Long or Richard Tan and Richard Chen, Dong Yi Shen or Kenneth Dong, Li Guang Feng or Manny Li, Eirene Mae Tatad, Teejay Marcellana, Mark Ruben Taguba 2nd, Chen I. Min, and Jhu Ming Jyun.

    Lawmakers found that Hong Fei China (Xiamen), owned by Chen Ju Long, exported various goods to the country in the second week of May. The huge volume of shabu was allegedly included in the shipment.

    The report said Chen made arrangements with Manny Li for the facilitation of the shipment.
    Li then contacted Dong, who engaged Taguba’s services.

    Taguba allegedly used Tatad’s EMT Trading as the consignee of the shipment. Marcellana then caused the lodgment of the entry in the BoC system.

    The packing list from China showed that the shipment contained only general merchandise, and taxes were paid on May 23, 2017.

    The shipment was cleared and released from the BoC on the same day, and Taguba used his trucking firm to load and deliver the container to the Hong Fei Logistics warehouse.

    “Taguba was able to do all these with ease through his connections in the BoC,” who allegedly “received bribes or ‘tara’ from him,” according to the executive summary.

    With the supposed tara system, Taguba “was able to have all his shipments classified and pass through the ‘green lane,’ meaning no risk and no inspection needed.”

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