BOC execs tagged by Lacson deny getting bribes from smugglers
Two more officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have strongly denied a senator’s accusation that they had been receiving “tara” or bribes from smugglers.
Major/General Natalio Ecarma III, deputy commissioner at the BoC, branded as “unfair” and “false” the corruption allegations made by Senator Panfilo Lacson in a privilege speech last year.
“Thank you for finally giving me this opportunity to answer the unfair and false allegations in the Honorable Lacson’s privilege speech, that I’m involved in corruption in the bureau by collecting tara,” Ecarma told the Senate blue ribbon committee on Tuesday.
“I’d like to tell this honorable body and the whole nation that I categorically deny that I received, ordered or authorized anyone to collect tara… and neither have I nor will i ever tolerate anyone in the Bureau or the government who does so.”
In fact, Ecarma said, he immediately went to Lacson and denied the latter’s accusations.
“…And I even asked him to have me investigated thoroughly to prove that I’m innocent,” he said, “Unfortunately, it’s been seven months now and no investigation has been conducted.”
Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the committee, then informed Ecarma that his panel is already looking into Lacson’s allegations.
Ecarma reiterated that he has never been involved in corruption and that he would never tolerate anyone who would do so.
Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco also denied Lacson’s allegations against him.
“Just like Deputy Commissioner Ecarma, I vehemently deny the inclusion of my office and my name in the privilege speech of Senator Lacson delivered last August 23,” Buco also told the committee.
“Almost all of us who have been mentioned in the privilege speech have already submitted our counter affidavits. So I’d just like to speak in behalf of those mentioned. Also your honor that we have already submitted our counter affidavits denying the allegations,” he added.
Ecarma and Buco were among those named by Lacson in the list of alleged recipients of payola at the BoC. /muf
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