Lacson, Faeldon swap barbs over corruption at Customs
SENATOR Panfilo Lacson on Monday shot back at former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, saying he was “also a bullshit” for being at the center of the tara system at the Bureau of Customs.
In an interview with reporters after filing an ethics complaint against Antonio Trillanes IV, Faeldon said he never denied there was a tara system, a form of bribe in the BoC.
“I believe there is, but saying that I’m part of it, that’s really bullshit,” said Faeldon who fumed at Lacson.
Faeldon challenged Lacson to come out with evidence that will prove his “lies.”
He said the senator was “obsessed” in “destroying” him and his reputation.
Responding to this remark of Faeldon, Lacson quipped, “I’m really obsessed because he’s been challenging me—I’m really obsessed to pinning him down and to prove he’s involved in corruption. He said it right.”
Faeldon on Monday filed an ethics complaint against Trillanes whom he called his “idol” but sought his suspension or expulsion from the Senate if found guilty of unethical, unparliamentary and improper conduct as a senator.
In an interview after filing the 14-page ethics complaint at the Senate Ethics Complaint Office, Faeldon stressed it was easy for Trillanes, a former colleague at the Magdalo Group, which launched failed coups against the government of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to lie.
“No one’s really taking him seriously as far as his allegations against a lot of people [are concerned]. He has proven it already several times,” said Faeldon.
He challenged Trillanes to prove in the ethics committee his malicious attacks.
“You can’t just blurt out lies to destroy people. You must be more responsible, you have been there for more than 10 years so you should be more careful. You are even my idol,” added Faeldon.
Sought for comment, Trillanes said he would face that ethics complaint squarely because he believed he did not do anything to warrant such a case.
“I will also not allow it to divert the focus from the real issue—that the mastermind behind the P6.4- billion shabu shipment is Mr. Paolo Duterte,” said Trillanes.
Faeldon briefly went out of his Senate detention facility where he has been detained on contempt charges for refusal to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing into the P6.4 billion in shabu shipment from China, which was facilitated through the BoC under his watch.
Three more individuals implicated in the smuggling of P6.4-billion shabu shipment seized last May on Monday asked the Department of Justice to dismiss the complaint for lack of evidence.
During the preliminary investigation hearing presided by Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes, Customs brokers Mark Ruben Taguba II and Teejay Marcellana and Filipino-Chinese businessman Chen Ju Long alias Richard Chen all submitted their counter-affidavits and denied charges of importation of illegal drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The three respondents stressed the complaint by National Bureau of Investigation against them should be dismissed for lack of probable cause.
In the earlier hearing last Sept. 18, two other respondents—Dong Yi Shen alias Kenneth Dong and importer Eirene May Tatad—appeared before the DoJ and also submitted answers denying the charges.
The investigating fiscal said the rest of the respondents who failed to appear before the DOJ—Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li and Taiwanese nationals Chen Min and Jhu Ming Jyun—had lost their opportunity to answer the charges and the complaint against them was already considered submitted for resolution.
In Davao City, the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines issued a resolution expressing the vice mayors’ support to Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte as regards the accusations hurled against him by Trillanes.
The Resolution No. 9 series of 2017 was signed by all the officers of the Vice Mayors’ League showing their support to the presidential son.
Faeldon told reporters Lacson had consistently spoken out against him after he alleged that his son, Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson III, was involved in cement smuggling.
“I think Senator Lacson has become so obsessed of me already...As early as 2016, when I investigated the shipment of his son, the cement smuggling, his obsession to destroy me came out,” revealed Faeldon.
In a privilege speech, Lacson accused Faeldon of receiving P100 million “welcome gift” when he assumed his post at the BoC aside from the tara or grease money to facilitate transaction of shipments.
“It’s only him in the list who raised a challenge. He’s so proud, he’s so hypocrite! And I’ll give it to him. I’m really obsessed,” Lacson said.
Lacson claimed BoC officials he talked to were even providing him documents to show the corruption activities in the agency.
He had also talked to a lot of deputy commissioners involved in the ‘tara’ list. Faeldon is the only hypocrite who insists on questioning.
“He is so full of arrogance and so full of hypocrisy. And I’ll give it to him.”
According to Lacson, he is analyzing and gathering documents and evidence against Faeldon. He said he would file as many cases he could against him.
Lacson said he would file graft and economic sabotage charges against Faeldon before the Ombudsman on Thursday for allegedly ordering the release of smuggled rice.
“I’m really obsessed in gathering evidence to really file as many cases that I can file based on the evidences (sic) that I have gathered and will gather. I have the capability to really gather evidences because I’ve been an investigator all my life. Now if he says I’m obsessed, yes by all means I’m obsessed to really prove my point that what’s contained in my privilege speech is true,” said Lacson.
Meanwhile, since Faeldon did not follow the Senate rules, the Senate committee on ethics and privlieges held in abeyance any decision on the ethics complaint he filed against Lacson.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon insisted it was unfair for Faeldon to file a complaint against Lacson if he himself did not follow the rules of the Senate.
“He disregarded the rules of the Senate. His conduct is really contemptuous because he refuses to appear and so this is a disrespect to the processes of the Senate. If he disrespects the processes in the blue ribbon [committee], he has no right to appear before the ethics committee and ask for a relief,” stressed Drilon.
Before this, Drilon and Senator Bam Aquino questioned Faeldon’s refusal to attend the Senate probe on the P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from Xiamen, China that slipped past the BoC.
He noted Faeldon did not have the right to file a complaint before the ethics committee until he respected the processes in the blue ribbon committee.
“And he will not be freed. He would only be set free if the term of the 17th Congress ends because of the contemptuous conduct he showed.”
Senators Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros and Gringo Honasan supported Aquino’s stand.
Ethics committee chair Senator Vicente Sotto also cited the immunity of lawmakers when a certain statement was made in a privilege speech during session or any hearing at the Chamber.
“Because of the issue of total parliamentary immunity, the complaint could already be dismissed. With Rey Requejo and Pearl Gajunera