Lacson files economic sabotage, graft vs Faeldon
Senator Panfilo Lacson has charged former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon with graft and economic sabotage due to his alleged involvement in rice smuggling before the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday.
In an interview, Lacson said that he filed cases of graft and economic sabotage, a non-bailable offense, against Faeldon because the resigned Bureau of Customs (BOC) official allegedly allowed smuggled rice in Cagayan De Oro.
“Dapat kumita na ang gobyerno ng P34 million, yun ang equivalent. Eh hindi naman, kasi ni-release yung bigas. Pinayagan ma-release ni Faeldon,” he said.
Apart from Faeldon, Lacson also named in his complaint National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino; former Cagayan de Oro port district collector Tomas Alcid; BOC liaison officer Geniefelle Lagmay; and Cebu Lite Trading Inc. (CLTI) officers Filomena Lim, Lucio Roger Lim Jr., Rowena Lim, Joselito Lopez, Josephine Rizalde, and Ambrosio Ursal Jr.
Lacson accused them of agricultural smuggling and violating the anti-graft law.
According to Lacson, Faeldon is liable for economic sabotage because the ex-BOC official allegedly sanctioned the entry of 40,000 bags of Vietnamese white rice worth P34.043 million without the required import permit.
“Despite respondents’ knowledge of the lack of any import permit for the subject rice shipments by CLTI, they nonetheless allowed their entry at the Port of Cagayan de Oro, and caused the unlawful release of these rice shipments from the BOC,” Lacson stated in his complaint.
Lacson claimed Aquino issued import permits for CLTI that has a validity that could “retroact from the time of the arrival of the shipment.”
“There is no law or NFA rule and regulation granting the Administrator the authority to issue permits with retroactive effect, much more issue permits without the requisite payment of taxes and duties being made. This shows that the issuance of import permits by Administrator Aquino in favor of CLTI was highly irregular, illegal,” Lacson asserted.
Lacson hit Faeldon anew for his “hypocrisy” in claiming to be on top of efforts to weed out corruption in the BOC when he purportedly allowed the release of the alleged smuggled rice.
“Yung vileness and hypocrisy ni Faeldon nagmamalinis, hindi niya puwedeng i-claim dito na nawaglit niya. Maaring napirmahan nya yung release. Dahil kinabukasan mismo after pinayagan niyang ma-release eh nag-testify siya sa Senado,” Lacson said.
Faeldon quit from the BOC amid the Senate inquiry into the P6.4 billion shabu shipment from China, which slipped past the bureau under his leadership, and allegations that he received money worth P100 million as gift or “pasalubong” when he assumed office in the agency in 2016, as divulged by Lacson in a privilege speech.
Faeldon subsequently turned the tables and accused Lacson’s son of being allegedly involved in the smuggling of cement.
Lacson, however, had vowed to file more complaints against Faeldon.
“Madami pang darating. I will not take it sitting down. Hindi ito retaliation, but to prove my point,” Lacson said. /kga
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