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Trillanes: Gordon report a cover-up

Skip to main content Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Trillanes: Gordon report a cover-up By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 12, 2017 - 12:00am Trillanes did not sign the draft committee report, which was prepared by panel chairman Sen. Richard Gordon. Senate PRIB/Alex Nuevaespaña, File

MANILA, Philippines â€" The findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on the issue of corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) were meant to cover up for President Duterte and his family, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said yesterday.

Trillanes did not sign the draft committee report, which was prepared by panel chairman Sen. Richard Gordon.

In the report, the committee also recommended an overhaul of the BOC to stamp out corruption in the agency.

Explaining his refusal to sign the report, Trillanes said he found it unacceptable that the President’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio were cleared of involvement in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.

Trillanes remains convinced that Vice Mayor Duterte and Carpio were behind the shipment that managed to slip past the BOC and landed in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.

â €œSuspected drug pushers and users are wantonly killed in the streets while the people behind the illegal drug smuggling are merely subjected to a lifestyle check. This is a clear case of a cover-up by Senator Gordon to please his political master,” Trillanes said.

“If Senator Gordon is really serious in getting to the bottom of this mess, then he shouldn’t terminate the hearing and clear Paolo Duterte of involvement until Nanie Cabato-Coronacion a.k.a. Tita Nanie is located,” he added.

In the committee report, it was noted that Duterte and Carpio were invited to attend one of the hearings upon the insistence of Trillanes.

“Although they were summoned on the basis of hearsay, we sought to accommodate the importuning of Senator Trillanes,” the report stated.

“The committee wanted to show likewise that there are no holy cows exempted from our processes, especially involving issues that are very serious in nature: in this circumstance, entry o f illicit drugs through the Bureau of Customs,” it added.

The committee recommended that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conduct a lifestyle check on Duterte and Carpio. Trillanes vowed to prevent the report from getting adopted in the plenary.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he has not yet signed the report as he has “serious reservations” about the findings.

“Chairman Gordon said he will make an addendum once he receives my comments. Kulang. Wanting. Findings and recommendations are not consistent with what was discussed, not only during the hearings, but in the committee report itself,” Lacson said.

Apart from the shabu shipment from China, the Blue Ribbon committee also took up in the hearing Lacson’s privilege speech dealing with corruption within the BOC.


In Gordon’s report, the committee also pushed for an overhaul of the BOC.

The panel found several officials of the BOC liable fo r the irregularities, including its former head Nicanor Faeldon.

At the center of it all is the so-called “tara” system, or payment of grease money to facilitate the release of cargo, including those containing contraband.

Based on estimates of the committee, the tara for this year has already reached P98.5 billion, which ended up in the pockets of BOC officials and employees.

According to the report, the government’s efforts to generate additional revenue to finance its ambitious infrastructure program would have gotten a huge boost had the BOC conducted an “honest to goodness assessment of cargo, completely obliterating the benchmarking at the BOC.”

“The tara system, as discovered by this committee, must be utterly dismantled and never allowed to come into existence again,” the committee stated.

The committee found gross negligence on the part of Faeldon, who has denied involvement in irregularity but has been detained by the Senate for refusing to attend the panel’s hearings on the issue.

“He imposed a military structure which was good, but the concomitant diligence and competence were sorely lacking. We, therefore, hold him responsible as specified above,” the committee said, referring to Faeldon.

“He recommended the hiring of (Gerardo) Gambala as deputy commissioner for management information system and technology. He too was grossly negligent and therefore his appointment and competence are Faeldon’s direct responsibility,” it added.

The committee recommended that all the officers of the BOC’s Command Center, headed by Gambala, resign. Gambala resigned yesterday.

A periodic review of the performance of licensed brokers was also recommended by the committee and if any broker is found involved in smuggling, he or she must be suspended immediately and reported to the secretary of finance for further action.

The committee said the issuance of alert orders for sh ipments must be decentralized.

Since the shipment of drugs came from China, the committee urged the government to seek greater cooperation with Chinese authorities to stop further transport of contraband to the Philippines.

The committee also recommended a feasibility study on the conduct of pre-shipment inspection of cargo from the port of origin as what was done before.

An amendment of Administrative Order 243-A series of 2009 was recommended by the committee so that all imported goods, whether containerized or not, would be subjected to mandatory pre-shipment inspection.

“No goods shall be imported into the country unless accompanied by a clean report of findings and an import duty report issued in respect of such goods by a duly-accredited inspecting officer or company,” the committee stated.

The committee also admonished Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for his lackadaisical attitude on the issue.

“The secretary of justice h as to do more in helping solve the problem of drugs. It was disheartening to note that, in the hearing of 19th September, he seemed to have given up on this case â€" ‘patay na itong kasong ito,’ if your chairman may paraphrase him,” the report stated.

“Such cavalier treatment of a serious case like this is not becoming of a justice secretary. He seemed to have just left things to his Usecs, NBI and PDEA. He created the impression that he was too busy with other things,” it added.

“Not felt or not put through to the committee was a sense of urgency, a sense that speed was an imperative. He gave the impression that he did not give this case the needed attention,” the committee noted.

Eleven senators have signed the report, which is still being passed around for signature among members of the Blue Ribbon committee.

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