Press Release
August 2, 2018


Senator Richard J. Gordon deplored the corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which has allowed the entry into the country of large shipments of illegal drugs, such as the P6.4-billion worth of shabu shipment, which would have found its way on the streets had it not been intercepted. "While the apparent problem here is corruption at the Bureau; the greater, the more dangerous, and the existential threat facing our country is the continuous and overwhelming proliferation of illegal drugs," the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee pointed out.

"However, what happened here is so grave: the drugs' unimpeded entry was made possible with the complicity of many at Customs and their ilk-people who did not care one whit about our people's welfare, but only had concern about satiating their greed for lucre and mammon.

Instead of apprehending the people involved in smuggling, the officials themselves facilitated, one way or another, this rotten system," he stressed when he sponsored Committee Report No. 168 which stemmed from the inquiry into the P6.4-billion worth of shabu shipment from China.

The Senate panel's probe was prompted by Senate Proposed Resolution No. 425 that Gordon filed on July 17 last year in connection with the botched smuggling attempt. The resolution was referred to the Blue Ribbon.

Gordon also noted that the failure of the BOC, then headed by Commissioner Nicanor Faeldom, to guard the country from the entry of smuggled and contraband goods, as well as their failure in meeting the target in the collection of taxes and duties, showed acts of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance.

"Our country loses billions of pesos in revenue due to the 'TARA' system... As found by the Committee, in 2017, the amount of 'TARA' amounted to P98.5B...The lost monies could have funded our military, our social security, our education system, or our housing programs for the poor - or even all of them, and more. Had there been no 'TARA' system and the P98.5 B cost attached to it duly collected by the government, as part of taxes, the need to collect additional taxes from TRAIN would have been reduced to P35.5 B...." he said.

Hence, the Blue Ribbon recommended several measures such as overhauling of the BOC, including the decentralization of the alert order, which was centralized under the Command Center during Faeldon's time. Among others, it also recommended the conduct of a study on the feasibility of having Pre-shipment Inspection Reports from the port of origin which shall be furnished to its port of destination, including having the Customs to conduct daily monitoring of its total containers and collections per day, in relation to its annual target.

Criminal and administrative cases were also recommended filed and pursued against Faeldon; other BOC officials Neil Estrella, Milo Maestrcampo, Gerardo Gambala, Laribert Hilario; private individuals Mark Taguba, Kenneth Dong, Chen Ju Long, Manny Li, Eirene Mae Tatad, and Teejay Marcellana; and Davao City Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera. It also recommended law enforcement authorities to accurately identify and further investigate "Tita Nanie," Jojo Bacud, "Jack," and "Noel," whose names repeatedly cropped up during the investigation.

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