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Faeldon links Lacson’s son to cement smuggling

By BETHEENA KAE UNITE & HANNAH L. TORREGOZA

Outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon fired back at Senator Panfilo Lacson’s accusations by linking the senator’s son to “smuggling billion-worth of cement into the country.”

Showing documents as he spoke before the members of the media in his house in Taytay, Rizal, Faeldon revealed that Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr. has already brought 67 shipments of cement into the country during Faeldon’s one-year stay in the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

Faeldon disclosed that through Bonjourno Trading, which was registered as a computer trading with sole proprietor, Pampi, the company’s managing director, has already shipped a total of 19,795,775 bags of cement worth P4,651,883,750 from June 2016 to present.

Faeldon questioned how the company with only R20,000 capital would be able to import billion-peso worth of cement.

According to Faeldon, he discovered the suspicious activity during his first days as the Customs commissioner.

Faeldon said that alert orders were issued over the shipments on July 12, 13, 15 and October 10 last year due to undervaluation of freight by more than 50 percent.

The document presented by Faeldon showed that the first alert happened in July 12 over the entry of a shipload of 150,000 bags of cement through the Port of Iloilo. The next day, July 13, another shipload of 130,050 bags of cement were placed under alert in Port of Dadiangas. Two days later, an alert order was again issued over a shipload of cement at the same port.
O
n Oct. 10, 2016, an undervalued shipment was put on hold at the Port of Legazpi. All shipments were under the Bonjourno Trading.

Faeldon said it was only recently that he discovered that there were 63 more shipments carried out by the Bonjourno Trading, which was supposedly into computer trading.

And as they dug deeper, Faeldon said they learned that Pampi was the managing director of the company, saying that he had visited his office few times before to “pay the dues” which according to Faeldon is a clear attempt to bribe him.

NO R100-M ‘WELCOME GIFT’’
Faeldon said that the P100-million “welcome gift” was not true, instead he admitted that before assuming office he was offered with a lower bribe.

“There was one attempt to bribe me with P300,000 weekly by an importer but it was not the direct importer who went to me but a third person, I did not accept it,” he said.

He said it was offered to him through a “random text.”

Faeldon also expressed willingness to sign a document waiving his right to bank secrecy to prove that he is not corrupt.

WHY ONLY NOW?

Reacting to Faeldon’s claim, Senator Lacson dared the outgoing BoC chief to answer why he did not file any criminal charges against his son if he knew first hand he was into smuggling.

“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 (value added tax), which my son said when I checked with him just now, they always pay,” Lacson told reporters in an interview.

“Third, he should have filed charges against my son if he now says, he’s into smuggling,” the senator pointed out.

Lacson said it doesn’t also make sense that I will expose the shenanigans in the BoC if his son is cheating on taxes as Faeldon is now accusing him of.

“The logical thing for me to do is not to make the expose and just keep quiet. 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 the filing of charges against him,” Lacson said.

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