AN official of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) said on Friday that he has not talked to resigned Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon who has quoted the organization as saying that the import company run by the son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson was the “top cement smuggler”.
“I did not say that they are the top cement smuggler,” CeMAP President Ernesto Ordonez told The Manila Times.
“[And] I have not talked to Mr. FAELDON,” he added.
On Thursday, Faeldon claimed CeMAP wrote to him in 2016 to report that Bonjourno Trading, the firm allegedly owned by Panfilo Lacson Jr., was the country’s largest cement smuggler.
Faeldon recalled that during his first 15 days in office alone, Panfilo Jr. brought in three shiploads of cement, twice at the Port of Iloilo on July 12 and 15, 2016 and one at the Port of Dadiangas on July 13.
The shipments had a total value of P16 million. All were issued a warrant of seizure of detention (WSD).
Another shipment worth P24 million arrived on October 10, 2016 at the Port of Legazpi, according to Faeldon, but was not issued a WSD, because Panfilo Jr., through his lawyer, agreed to pay tariffs based on cement cost of $16 per metric ton, the former commissioner said.
He said he was forced to release the three previous shipments as part of his duty to facilitate trade, because the cement had been held for 30 days.
Likewise, the Trade department did not reply to his letter asking if the document presented by Bonjourno Trading pegging the value of cement at $8 per metric ton was genuine.
Faeldon said he found later that the document presented by the younger Lacson was fake.
“In just four shipments, Panfilo Lacson Jr. consistently wanted to pay only 50 percent of his freight cost…his lawyer submitted a fake document to try to justify [the $8 per metric ton rate],” he said.
Moreover, Bonjourno’s permit is for the importation of computer parts, not cement. ANGELICA BALLESTEROS