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2 high-ranking BOC officials deny collecting “tara”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

(Left-Right) BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco and Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III

MANILA, Philippines — The two deputy commissioners of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has denied involvement in corruption at the agency.

This is contrary to what Senator Panfilo Lacson had exposed in his privilege speech in August 2017 when he named them as among those who received “tara” from importers.

“I vehemently deny the inclusion of my office and my name,” BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco said.

Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III noted, “Syndicates that we are up against are deeply entrenched, well-funded, politically connected and highly influential,”

Meanwhile, during the 14th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the corruption issue in the BOC, Senator Richard Gordon said he did not see any solid pieces of evidence against the personalities in Senator Lacson’s tara list.

‘Walang naglabas ng ebidensya (Nobody presented evidence). I wish Senator Lacson will come out,” said Gordon.

Despite this, Customs chief Isidro Lapeña will continue to investigate the corruption issue in his agency.

“The investigation is a continuing one and this will cover not just those that were revealed by Senator Lacson, also those who are doing it who were not mentioned,” Lapena said. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Senator wants probe over missing allowances of SAF troopers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

SAF Troops

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson wants an investigation on the unreleased P59.8 million subsistence allowance and hazard pay for Special Action Force (SAF) troopers of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The former chief of police said withholding of allowances may demoralize members of the PNP-SAF.

On Wednesday, April 18, Lacson filed Senate Resolution 712 urging a probe on the issue.

In his resolution, Lacson said, “We cannot allow, yet again, another injustice to be committed against our heroes in uniform who are in the forefront of our fight against the ills of terrorism and criminality, lest we risk demoralization within their ranks.” He insists “the need to probe into the said allegations.”

SAF troopers are entitled to a daily Additional Subsistence Allowance (ASA) of P30 a day or P900 a month. Lacson said that based on records, SAF troopers only received their allowance from January 2016 to July 2017.

He said some members of SAF had approached him regarding their concerns and handed him a copy of the complaint filed against SAF officials at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Former SAF head director Benjamin Lusad and SAF budget officer Senior Superintendent Andre Dizon are accused of plunder and malversation of public funds.

They admitted having the funds but claimed these were used for operational expenses, fellowship, and training. But Lacson said they did not present any proof of liquidation.

Yesterday, outgoing PNP Chief Police Director Ronald Dela Rosa confirmed that a portion of the “missing” money was already turned over by Lusad to the current SAF Chief Police Director General Noli Taliño.

“Una, nagbigay ng P10 million. Tapos, afterwards, nagdagdag ng P27 million so P37 million na iyong naibalik kay General Taliño para i-distribute doon sa mga tropa,” Dela Rosa confirmed.

(He initially gave P10 million. Afterwards, P27 million was added, so a total of P37 million has been returned to General Taliño for distribution to the troops.)

General Bato hopes the investigation will shed light as to why the money was not released. — Marje Navarro – Pelayo |UNTV News & Rescue

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BOC seizes P18.5M worth of fake cigarettes

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018

Bureau of Customs

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized on April 10 boxes of smuggled and fake cigarettes from China at the Manila International Container Port.

The shipment was declared artificial fur texture and consigned to Marid Industrial Marketing located in Paco, Manila.

The total estimated worth of the shipment is at P18.5 million.

BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña believes that the contraband were supposed to be sold in the provinces at a cheaper price.

“Pwede nilang patungan (they can put a markup) and then sell it even at a lower price than the original ones,” he explained.

The shipment will go through seizure and forfeiture proceedings over violations of Section 1400 of the Republic Act 10863 o the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Meanwhile, the importer and the broker of the shipment are to face suspension and revocation of accreditation. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Manila court resets arraignment of accused in P6.4 billion shabu smuggling case

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Mark Taguba (center) under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigations

The arraignment of the accused in the P 6.4 billion shabu smuggling case has been deferred for the second time.

In a hearing on Friday, a lawyer for accused Customs broker Mark Taguba said they will seek a reconsideration of the court’s resolution dismissing their motion to exclude the seized drugs from the evidence.

According to Atty. Raymund Fortun, the Bureau of Customs unlawfully opened the cylinders where the shabu shipment was allegedly stored.

He said there was no search warrant presented nor was it authorized by then Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon.

“If the evidence is obtained in unlawful means or not in accordance with our laws, all of these evidence become inadmissible, these are set aside,” said Atty. Fortun.

The court gave Taguba five days to file his motion for reconsideration while the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution team was allowed to reply afterwards.

“We also ask the same period of time, if necessary, to file a reply,” said DOJ Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ramoncito Ocampo, Jr.

The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 decided to reset the arraignment to April 27.

Aside from Taguba, Eirene Mae Tatad, the alleged consignee of the drug shipment, was also present at the hearing.

The other accused, including Chinese businessmen Richard Tan and Kenneth Dong, remain at large.

The case stemmed from the seizure of over 600 kilos of shabu in two warehouses in Valenzuela City in May last year. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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