A lawmaker is pushing for a separate Senate inquiry into the controversy involving several personalities under the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to determine whether there were violations in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th filed Resolution 474 specifically directing the ways and means committee, headed by Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, to investigate.
Apart from the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment from China that slipped through Customs in May, Trillanes also cited in his resolution the privilege speech of Sen. Panfilo Lacson revealing a list of Customs officials and staff — from as high as ex Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon down to personnel and bag men allegedly accepting “tara” (payoffs) from players and brokers in the bureau.
He stated in his resolution the claims of Mark Taguba, a fly-by-night broker at the BOC, who admitted paying P27,000 per container to make sure that his shipments were released without undergoing strict inspection procedures.
Trillanes said that based on the claims of Taguba, the government was losing P98.5 billion a year, which is twice the amount the government was expecting to earn if the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would be imposed.
He noted that while there have been efforts to constantly update the legislative mandate of the BOC through Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Administration (CMTA) law, the efforts appeared to be inadequate. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA