Senate ends probe on ‘shabu’ shipment, takes on ‘tara’ system next

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THE Senate blue ribbon committee terminated its investigation into the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment from China after nine hearings but would segue into the multimillion-peso  “tara” (payoff) system at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

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“I will close the meeting on drugs but will not abandon our pursuit of the resolution of cases filed with respect to drugs,” Gordon said on Tuesday.

The Senate blue ribbon panel started its investigation on the illegal shipment in July following the filing of Senate resolution 425 by Gordon.

The inquiry also led to the uncovering of the multimillion-peso “tara” (payoff) system at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) that supposedly allowed the entry of illegal items, including drugs, into the country without being detected by bureau.

The committee also learned about the BOCs system where cargoes passed though depending on the categories the bureau itself formulated.

In the case of the the shipment containing “shabu”, the illegal substance passed though the “green lane”, or the lane where imported products were not subjected to inspection.

Others include the blue lane, “super green lane”, the yellow lane, and the red lane.

Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and brother-in-law Manases Carpio were also invited to the hearing after self-confessed Customs “fixer” Mark Taguba implicated them in the facilitation of the shipment.

Taguba claimed to have given P5 million to Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera as one-time enrollment fee for him to be under the protection of the so-called Davao group at the BOC.

Duterte, Carpio and Abellera denied their links to the Davao group.

The rampant corruption activities at the Customs, prompted Sen. Panfilo Lacson to dig deeper into the issue and obtained information that put former BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon at the center of the controversy.

In a privilege speech entitled “Kita Kita” Lacson named Faeldon as among those receiving payoffs at the Customs, including P100 million as “welcome gift” when he assumed the post in July 2016.

Lacson also identified in his speech other officials and personnel of Customs on the take and individuals who were giving out the “payola”.

Gordon set the next blue ribbon committee hearing on Sept. 25 and the panel will focus on the “tara” system.

“We will crossover to our next investigation on the privilege speech of Senator Lacson. We will continue to pursue that (drugs) even if we terminated this case. We want to make sure that we win in the fight against drugs,” Gordon added.

 

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