Lacson sues Faeldon for rice smuggling
Sen. Panfilo Lacson has sued former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon for allegedly allowing the release of $680,000 (P34.04 million) worth of rice in the Cagayan de Oro port in May despite lack of permits and payment of duties.
Lacson on Thursday filed a complaint for economic sabotage, graft and grave misconduct with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Economic sabotage is a serious offense that is nonbailable and punishable by life imprisonment.
“This is the answer to his dares. I will not take it sitting down,” Lacson said of Faeldon’s challenge for him to press charges instead of just linking him to various anomalies in the Bureau of Customs.
“Yes, I’m obsessed to prove my point because I raised this issue and he keeps on challenging it,” he added.
Besides Faeldon, the other respondents include National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Laureano Aquino, former Cagayan de Oro district collector Tomas Alcid and customs liaison officer to the NFA Geniefelle Lagmay.
Also named respondents were directors or officers of importer Cebu Lite Trading Inc., (CLTI), namely: Filomena Lim, Luico, Roger Lim Jr., Rowena Lim, Joselito Lopez, Josephine Rizalde and Ambrosio Ursal Jr.
According to Lacson’s complaint, the 40,000 bags of Vietnamese long grain rice consigned to CLTI were already declared “abandoned and forfeited” in favor of the government in two rulings issued by Alcid on April 26.
This was due to the lack of an import permit at the time. Although the shipments came in on March 9 and 16, CLTI allegedly lodged an import entry only on March 31.
On May 17, however, Aquino issued a “retroactive” certification for the shipments, stating that they were covered by import permits issued on March 28 and valid until April 4.
Alcid on June 7 sought Faeldon’s clearance for the release of the rice despite the expiration of the import permits.
Faeldon on June 13 “unlawfully allowed” the release of the two shipments.
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