THE Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Monday restored the protective custody on Customs fixer Mark Taguba.
Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon panel, granted the request of Sen. Panfilo Lacson to again deploy a Senate security detail to Taguba, an important witness to the smuggling of P6.4 billion shabu from China as well as the reported “tara” (payoff) system at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Last week, Gordon recalled the protective custody, saying Taguba is rich enough to hire private security.
“By protective custody I understood that he will be in the Senate. Protective custody, if you look in the dictionary means that the witness is in a location either in military encampment or police encampment or a station and he remains thereat,” he said.
“However, it is apparent that we were expending resources guarding Mr. Taguba with 4 or 6 security people.
And because of his recommendation, I felt that and I take full responsibility for it that Mr. Taguba is within means to provide himself with security. And in fact, in his text messages I saw that he was accompanied not by a driver, but by a bodyguard when he went to Davao,” he added.
Lacson said the Senate will test the credibility of Taguba.
“I asked him in coordination with the counsel to prepare a detailed list of his withdrawals with reference to his bank statements and juxtapose the same with the payoffs in accordance with his list, with his blue book, notebook or whatever as well as records of the SMS conversations between him and other personnel of the customs bureau identified bagmen as well. In so doing, we may be able to test his credibility,” Lacson told the blue ribbon panel.