Taguba to present proof of payoffs

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Fly-by-night customs broker Mark Taguba will present Monday documentary evidence to prove that the “tara” (payoff) system at the Bureau of Customs involved officials and personnel of the bureau, including former commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said on Sunday.

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The Senate blue ribbon committee will resume its inquiry today. Lacson had earlier claimed that Faeldon was among those who received payoffs, including a P100-million “welcome gift” when he assumed his post as Customs chief last year.

Faeldon denied the allegations.

“Humihingi siya (Faeldon) ng evidence ‘yan ang kanyang maririnig bukas kung pagbigyan si Taguba sa pamamagitan ng aking pagtanong (he was asking for evidence, he will hear it tomorrow though my questing of Taguba, if he will be allowed,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

Taguba will present bank records, text messages and call logs of his transactions with various Customs officials, the senator added.

“May masasangkot doon na mga pangalan at abot ito hanggang sa commissioner (There are several names that will be mentioned and it will reach up to the Commissioner), Lacson said, referring to Faeldon, who resigned as Customs chief last month.

The former BOC commissioner is still detained at the Senate because of his refusal to attend the hearing of the blue ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Lacson said he is hoping that he will be allowed by Gordon’s committee to present Taguba.

“Hindi ito ang sinasabing say-so o capriciously sasabihin ni Taguba kundi nababase lahat sa dokumento (this is not mere say-so or capriciously stated by Taguba, but will all be based on documents),” Lacson said.

Taguba, in one of the hearings, mentioned Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte as among those allegedly linked to the so-called Davao Group that is involved in operations at the bureau.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña did not deny the existence of “payola” at the bureau.

“He (Faeldon) was the only one denying the existence of ‘tara’ at the BOC,” Lacson said.

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