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Faeldon again snubs hearing on P6.4-B shabu

By: Hannah L. Torregoza

Former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon again snubbed the Senate hearing yesterday on the R6.4-billion shabu shipment from China last May.

Sen. Richard J. Gordon said he invited Faeldon again but the former military officer refused. Faeldon, however, pursued filing an ethics complaint against Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes III yesterday.

Customs broker Mark Taguba presented to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee a Powerpoint presentation the breakdown of the “tara” or grease money he gave to BoC “collectors.”

Taguba backed his claims by giving senators a copy of the screen shots of his series of text messages with a certain “Tita Nanie” whom he said was part of the so-called Davao Group that is allegedly linked to Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte.

Taguba also showed copies of receipts, withdrawals, and call logs, specifically with a certain Joel Pinawin, chief collector of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Services, to prove the existence of anomalous transactions happening with the agency.

Taguba told the Senate he transacted with a certain “Mae” whom he said was the collector for Pinawin.

Pinawin, however, denied Taguba’s allegations, saying he never asked Mae Escueto or any of his staff to ask money from the broker. But Taguba showed the Senate his call logs with Pinawin from March 27 to 31, 2017.

This prompted Gordon to issue a subpoena to “Mae” and warned her to appear before the Senate probe.

According to Taguba, he paid around P170,000 per container broken down as P60,000 for shipping; P15,000 for container deposit; P40,000 in duties and taxes; P9,235 for arrastre; P10,000 for trucking; and P27,200 for tara.