Lapeña orders probe of ‘pasalubong’ certificates in Customs
(Updated 2:12 p.m., Oct. 4) Tax credit certificates (TCC), or the documents that refunds taxes to companies, are a source of “pasalubong” in the Bureau of Customs (BOC), its chief Isidro Lapeña bared Wednesday.
During the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the smuggling of the P6.4-billion illegal drugs from China, Lapeña said he had ordered the recall of the TCCs he had signed and the investigation into the TCC process.
“I told them [media] that I did not, I have not received pasalubong. I was thinking there was no such thing,” Lapeña said.
“Two three weeks ago, I started receiving bundles of folders for tax credit certificates so I signed this, it comes to my table, it has been processed, it is legitimate so I signed it and released it back to those who processed it,” he added.
The Customs chief said a concerned employee of the BOC told him that it was the source of “pasalubong” or welcome gift.
“This is a legitimate plane for tax refund of companies, big companies. These are processed and credited back to those big companies to those tax exemptions it could be the excess payments of taxes and duties,” Lapeña explained.
In an interview with reporters after the hearing, Lapeña explained that the TCC were used by some Customs personnel as a bargaining chip to delay the processing of the documents and force companies to pay bribes.
“Yung mga tao namin for process, yung mga negotiations, yung mga big companies would not like to give, pero para lang mafacilitate, then nagbibigay. Kaya ang problema diyan, when there is delay, then there is, may pera na involved dyan,” he said.
(Our people who process it negotiate, but big companies decline. But just to facilitate it, they give bribes. So the problem there is, when there is delay, there is money involved.)
“Kaya that is my thrust now to address the delays diyan sa bureau and I believe, if we are able to address the delays, yung slow process diyan, then we should be able to address the many problems in the bureau,” he added.
(That’s why my thrust now is address the delays in the bureau and I believe, if we are able to address the delays, the slow process, then we should be able to address many problems in the bureau.)
The Customs chief said he would talk to the companies whose TCC were put on hold, “para kwentas claras, na you do not need to give certain percentage para ma-process yon, that’s the job of the people in government.”
The certificates he had signed may have amounted to billions, the commissioner said.
/cbb / jpv
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