SENATOR Panfilo Lacson maintained on Thursday that he was not involved in the business transactions of his son and the only assistance he has given was to show him how to operate a photocopier.
Lacson issued the statement in response to the allegation of former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon that the senator’s son, Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr., was allegedly involved in big-time smuggling.
The senator said the only time that he helped his son in his business was when he needed a ”|Xerox machine” because his son didn’t have one.
Faeldon, who was accused on Wednesday by Lacson of accepting “payola” at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), including a P100 million “welcome gift”, said the senator’s son was engaged in smuggling by undervaluing shipments.
He claimed Panfilo Jr., the managing director of the company Bonjorno involved in cement importation, was just paying $8 per metric ton, when the correct rate should be $16 to $20 per metric ton.
“First, I have nothing to do with my son’s business activities; second there is no smuggling of cement as it is not subject to customs tariff and duties but only subject to VAT,” Lacson said.
Even Faeldon’s figure on the per metric ton of freight was also too high because, according to Lacson, a friend, who was into export of nickel to China, told him that freight cost for export was only $8 to $9 per ton and export was more expensive.
The senator also pointed out that if his son was really involved in smuggling, Faeldon should have filed the proper charges against Lacson Jr.,
“For the record I have always reminded my son to be on the level in whatever business dealings he would have because if not, I’ll be the first one to castigate him and even initiate filing of charges against him,” Lacson said.
The senator added that he didn’t care about the motive of Faeldon in coming up with the allegation because his main concern was to address the issue and answer the allegations head on.
On claims that Lacson made the expose about BOC payola in an attempt to cover up his own son’s smuggling operation, the senator said he would not reveal the shenanigans in the BOC, if his son was really cheating on taxes.
“The logical thing for me to do is not to make the expose and just keep quite,” he added.
Lacson also dismissed as a “big lie” Faeldon’s claim that Lacson Jr., delivered money to his office because, according to the senator, his son told him that he never met the ex-Customs commissioner.
“He has not done so at anytime, he has not met Faeldon. He has absolutely no reason to bribe Faeldon or the Customs Bureau. That’s a big big lie,” Lacson added.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon expressed doubts on Faeldon’s claims which were made a day after Lacson delivered a privilege speech exposing the corruption at the BOC.
Pimentel even insisted that Faeldon should state everything he knewn about everyone involved in suspicious activities in Customs and not only concentrate on the person who exposed the “tara” system at the BOC.
“We have to make sure that this is not pang lihis lang ng issue (an attempt to divert the issue),” Pimentel added.
Drilon, for his part, viewed Faeldon’s moves as an act of desperation and vowed to oppose any investigation regarding the matter.
“It will be a waste of time and will simply be used as a venue for character assassination,” he added.
Sen. Richard Gordon shared the same sentiments, noting that Faeldon has been attending the Senate hearings on several occasions but did not even bother to mention this.