Witness at Senate hearing confirms ‘tara system’ at BOC
An alleged bagman of a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official bared on Wednesday during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing that she received money from fixer Mark Taguba and delivered it to the chief collector of the agency’s intelligence department.
May Escoto alleged that she had brought money placed inside two brown envelopes from Taguba in three separate occasions upon the orders of Joel Pinawin of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Services (CIIS).
The envelopes, Escoto said, were labeled “Sir Joel” and “Director,” which was supposedly for CIIS Director Neil Estrella.
When asked by Sen. Panfilo Lacson about how much the money worth, Escoto said she did not know.
“Mga gaano kakapal? Yung isang envelope?” (How thick was the envelope?)
“Hangga’t maaari nga po ayokong hawakan e.” Escoto said. (As much as possible I wouldn’t want to touch it.)
Escoto said Pinawin also asked to give him her sim card and just told him to buy a new one.
“Di ko naman po matanggal agad agad sim card ko…sabi niya, diba may hikaw ka? Yan pantanggal mo. So tinanggal ko na po kasi naharapan ko na siya e. Para siyang nagmamadali na kunin. Pagkabigay ko binigyan po naman po niya ako ng pambili ng sim card,” she explained.
(I can’t take my sim card off immediately… He told me to use my earing to unplug the sim so I did because I was already in front of him. He hastily wanted to get the sim from me. Upon giving it to him he immediately gave me something to buy for a new sim.)
Pinawin vehemently denied the accusations and said he never asked Escoto to get any package from Taguba.
“Sa lahat po ng sinabi ni May, puro kasinungalingan po ito. Unang una, wala po akong inutos kay May at sa asawa niya. Maliwanag po dito sir kung nag-uusap man sila at nagtetext ay transaksyon nilang dalawa yan your honor. Personal po nilang usapan yan,” he told the panel.
(Of all the things May said, all of which are lies. First of all, I did not give any orders to May and her husband. It is clear here that if they have their own communications it is just between them including their transactions your honor. It is personal between them.) /jpv