i started writing, thinking on, this post yesterday soon after senator panfilo lacson, in aid daw of the blue ribbon committee’s hearings on shabu smuggling sa customs, delivered that privilege speech accusing ex customs chief nic faeldon and his oakwood gang of being on the take, big time. kararating pa nga lang, may pasalubong na.
“Loud whispers in the four corners of the Bureau of Customs compound tell of a 100-million-peso ‘pasalubong’ to the newly-installed Commissioner, a quarter of which, or 25 million pesos was retained as finder’s fee by his middleman named Joel Teves.”
what, “loud whispers” lang? no documents, no affidavits by witnesses, no hidden CCTV that prove/show that money illegally changed hands? interesting. a former top cop playing like bato’s cops: “shoot” now, explain later. but not too surprising, given senator ping’s long colorful history. twice he was the accused in very high-profile cases — the kuratong baleleng shoot-out / rub-out in 1995 and the bubby dacer – alex corbito murders in 2000.
lacson pleaded innocent in both cases and in due time each was dismissed. kuratong baleleng was more easily won. dacer-corbito was not; ping had to run for it, just before he was charged in court; he was a fugitive for 15 months, there was an arrest order out for him, even the interpol was on the lookout. umuwi lang siya after the supreme court dismissed the case, affirming the court of appeals’ earlier ruling that the principal witness was neither credible nor trustworthy. same witness recanted his testimony sometime in 2015.
i’ve always believed that lacson is one very powerful man. back in the days of erap, when he was PAOCTF chief, there was a lot of talk that he had dossiers on everyone, which inspired fear. he could be truly innocent of the dacer-corbito murders but i have no doubt that he knows more about these murders than he has ever let on, and that’s like being complicit in protecting the guilty, isn’t it?
but to get back to yesterday when he lashed out at faeldon. kahit pa sabihin, for the sake of argument, na guilty as charged si faeldon, nagulat ako at the viciousness of lacson’s attack. guilty until proven innocent. bakit siya galit na galit kay faeldon? pareho sila ni trillanes, actually. what do they know about faeldon that makes them so mad at him (or vice versa), but which the president either does not mind or does not know? is it for PMA’er’s ears only?
this morning faeldon struck back at lacson with a vengeance, wondering what lacson’s motive was for accusing soldiers whom lacson himself knows daw are innocent of corruption. and then he went on to make kuwento about a cement importer by the name of panfilo lacson jr. whose small company has been bringing in shiploads of cement, tone-toneladang semento, na misdeclared, undervalued (at $8/metric ton) by some 50 percent of market price. 106M pesos worth of cement in 3 shipments over 3 days in july 2016. nakaka-67 shipments na daw by now. and like tish, faeldon has documents.
tanong ni faeldon: alam mo ba ito, senator lacson? kasi kung hindi, kung hindi mo alam ang ginagawa ng anak mo sa customs, then wala kang alam tungkol sa customs.
sagot ni lacson: it’s a big big lie … i am not my son’s keeper … faeldon’s $16 for cement is too high.
also the senator said that he would not have made yesterday’s exposé re faeldon if he himself were involved in customs corruption in any way. and anyway why did it take faeldon so long to make sumbong?
hmm. it is not beyond imagination that lacson made the exposé — even if he himself was not beyond reproach — out of hubris, over-confidence, thinking no one would dare mess with him, or that faeldon in particular would not dare challenge him. just as it’s perfectly understandable that faeldon was in no hurry to tangle with the senator, as who would be? until he had his documents in order. and if he is NOT on the take, then it makes sense that faeldon would hit back at the senator with everything he’s got just about now.
it’s not quite as hateful or scandalous as the shabu smuggling — after all, di naman illegal substance ang semento — but undervaluation in aid of paying less in taxes is technical smuggling, a crime that cheats government of millions, maybe billions, in revenue, and which is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
hindi bale sana kung dahil nakamura sa customs ay mas mura nilang ibinebenta ang semento sa mercado. asa pa.
meanwhile, senate prez pimentel and senators drilon and aquino were quick to express support for their colleague.
PIMENTEL. “We have to make sure that this is not pang lihis lang ng isyu. And Faeldon should state everything he knows about everyone involved in suspicious activities in Customs and not only concentrate his return fire on the person who exposed the tara system in BOC.”
DRILON. “I have full faith in the uprightness of Sen. Lacson and his family. Without any evidence other than Faeldon’s allegation, I will oppose any investigation. It will be a waste of time and will simply be used as a venue for character assassination.”
AQUINO said he is confident Lacson could defend himself against the allegations of Faeldon that his son’s company is the “number one cement smuggler in the country.”
if not for faeldon, we wouldn’t now know that senator lacson’s son is a customs player pala. nakakapagpaisip, di ba? sino pa kaya sa mga senador ang may anak, kapatid, pamangkin, pinsan, at / o inaanak na customs players din. imposible naman na si lacson lang. time to circle the wagons indeed.