Lacson to file graft, economic sabotage charges vs Faeldon

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson is set to file graft and economic sabotage charges against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon this week.

Lacson said Faeldon violated Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for receiving bribe money and RA 10845 (Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016) for being involved in rice smuggling.

“Siya ang commissioner, siya lang pwede mag-utos i-release ang smuggled rice. Anyway tama na. Ifa-file sa kanya RA3019 meaning Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act ang violation, at economic sabotage sa RA 10845 na Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016,” Lacson said on Sunday, September 24, over radio dzBB.

(He's the commissioner. He's the only one who can order the release of the smuggled rice. Anyway, I'll stop. We will filed against him RA3019 meaning he violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices and economic sabotage based on RA 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.)

“Anytime next week I’m ready to file a case against Faeldon. I will not give anymore details,” Lacson said. 

The senator is confident that Faeldon would be the first person to be convicted of RA 10845, which was just passed in 2016. He said he has enough documentary evidence to prove Faeldon’s wrongdoing.

“Nang nabuo namin kaso [kay Faeldon], sinabi ko...'Senator Cynthia [Villar], ito ang regalo ko sa batas na pinaghirapan mong ipasa.' At ito walang kawala ito. Ito ang test case na ifa-file nating kaso. Ito ang logical conclusion nito sigurado ko mapupunta sa conviction kasi documented lahat ito,” Lacson said, referring to Villar who sponsored the law in the last Congress.

(When we finalized the case [against Faeldon], I told Senator Cynthia Villar, 'this is my gift for the law you worked hard to pass.' He has no excuse here. This is a test case. I am sure that the logical conclusion here is conviction because everything is documented.)

Lacson, in an earlier privilege speech, accused Faeldon and other BOC officials of receiving “tara” or bribe money in exchange of smooth transactions and no-inspection shipments.

Faeldon has denied the allegations and accused Lacson’s son, Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr of cement smuggling, which the senator denied.

Faeldon has since strongly refused to testify before the Senate and is currently detained by the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms. He also filed an ethics complaint against the senator over his privilege speech.

Evidence

Faeldon's legal counsel and spokesperson Jose Diño said Lacson has no evidence until now against his client.

"There he goes again, nang-la-Lacson na naman (he's doing a Lacson again), meaning, malicious-falsities, for media mileage, which he cannot prove," Diño said in a statement.

He accused Lacson of diverting the public's attention from his failure to prove his "malicious-falsities.”

The senator, for his part, maintained he has evidence against the former BOC commissioner. For one, he said almost all Customs officials he asked during Senate hearings, including Faeldon’s chief-of-staff Mandy Anderson, attested to the existence of “tara.” He also said he would present official documents to prove his claims.

“Siya na lang ata taga-BOC na nagsasabing walang tara. Ebidensya yan ang testimony ng resource person na umaming may tara. Di pa ba ebidensya? Ano pang ebidensya hinahanap niya pang-convict, yan ang sinaliksik ko ng ilang linggong nakaraan at yan ibibigay ko sa kanya,” Lacson said.

(I think he's the only BOC official who's saying there is no tara. The testimony of resource persons who admitted there is tara is an evidence. What other evidence is he looking for? I researched it for several weeks and that's what I'm giving him.)

Suffice it to say, sabihin ko sa iyo na ang dokumento at sworn affidavit na pinaghahawakan namin enough hindi lang sa probable cause pero plug namin ang posibleng maging depensa niya sa pamamagitan ng official record, CTC (Certified True Copies) ng lahat, I’ll bring it to its logical conclusion which is conviction. He asked for it, I’m giving it to him,” Lacson said.

(Suffice it to say, the documents and sworn affidavits we have are enough, not just for probable cause. We plugged his possible defenses by presenting official records, CTC of all documents. I'll bring to its logical conclusion which is conviction. He asked for it, I'm giving it to him.)

The Senate blue ribbon committee is set to investigate corruption in the BOC on Monday, September 25, after ending hearings on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu from China. 

It remains to be seen if Faeldon would face the panel on Monday. But if he continues to evade the Senate, he would remain in detention, said Lacson. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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