Ex-Customs commissioner points to senator’s son as ‘top smuggler’

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By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, called on former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to submit documents to support his accusations that Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s son is the top smuggler at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

“Faeldon should send us the evidence so we can study them… if I can see the documents and there’s an affidavit, then I can make a better decision,” Gordon said.

Gordon also said he would also consult all the senators except Lacson and the other senators who were not involved.

He also criticized Faeldon for the delayed disclosure of the alleged smuggling activity of Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr.

“First, to be fair, Faeldon was here for several days. Why did he not tell us at once? He should have told us about it,” said Gordon.

Faeldon attended last week’s hearing of Gordon’s committee on the PHP 6.4 billion shabu shipment from Xiamen, China, which was smuggled into the country through the BoC.

If Lacson’s son was into smuggling, Gordon said Faeldon should have filed charges.

According to Faeldon, he did not immediately reveal what he knew so as not to divert attention away from the probe on the shabu smuggling.

“Smuggler? I’m absolutely sure I never called Faeldon or any Customs official to intercede for my son in any of his transactions with BoC,” Lacson said.

“Any assault on my integrity irritates me, to say the least. And I won’t take it sitting down, maybe not now but I will definitely take action sooner or later,” he added.

In a privilege speech, Lacson accused Faeldon as “on the take” at the BoC. He also accused Faeldon of allegedly received PHP 100 million “pasalubong” or welcome gift when he assumed the post at the BoC.

Meanwhile, Sen. Leila De Lima said, “These are as serious as Sen. Lacson’s accusations that Faeldon also belongs to the Customs officialdom who are beneficiaries of the Tara system that has plagued the agency for decades. The revelations of Faeldon must be thoroughly investigated in the same way that Sen. Lacson’s allegations against Faeldon should be the subject of an exhaustive probe.”

De Lima said she joined the call of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’ for Faeldon to tell all.

“Faeldon must also expose all other personalities involved in smuggling or other Customs-related anomalies, including senators, congressmen, and other public officials, specifically those belonging to the so-called Davao Group that facilitated the PHP 6.4-billion shabu shipment.”

“It is about time that the investigation on smuggling also includes the presidential son, Paolo Duterte,” said De Lima.

“Otherwise, his implications about Sen. Lacson’s knowledge of his son’s illegal activities will just be a lame counter-attack that is as selective as it is spiteful.”

“I call on the Senate to direct Faeldon to spill the beans now that he has started to liberally accuse one of us. There should be no whitewash in this investigation. There should be no sacred cows. Let Panfilo Lacson Jr. and Paolo Duterte face the music at the Senate.

Anything less will only prove that there is no justice and accountability in this country when it comes to the sons and relatives of the high and mighty,” added De Lima.

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