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Lacson files graft, economic sabotage raps vs Faeldon

Sen. Panfilo Lacson accused former Customs chief Faeldon of allowing the shipment of forfeited smuggled rice worth P34 million into the country. Ping Lacson Staff/Release, File | Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday filed a complaint against former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon over alleged corruption in the bureau he used to head.

Faeldon, National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino and eight others are facing charges of graft, economic sabotage and grave misconduct before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Lacson accused Faeldon of allowing the shipment of forfeited smuggled rice worth P34 million into the country.

"Because the subject shipments released to [Cebu Lite Trading Inc.] were considered property of the Republic of the Philippines because of the abandonment orders issued, and since there was no showing that CLTI exerted earnest effort to first cause the lifting of said orders of abandonment, the rice contained in the two shipments are, by operation of law, forfeited in favor of the Government," the complaint read.

The senator said that the forfeited shipments of rice entered the Port of Cagayan de Oro in March despite not having proper permits.
 
The rice, around 40,000 bags, were declared forfeited in April and were supposed to be disposed of.
 
Lacson said Aquino instead issued papers for the shipments retroactively despite no law authorizing him to do so.

The senator said that more complaints will be filed against the former Customs chief, including raps over the "tara" bribery system at the agency.

In his privilege speech last month, Lacson bared a "tara" list containing alleged bribe givers or players and collectors or bagmen at the Customs.

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Faeldon was included in the alleged list of recipients of tara or payola released by the senator.

Lacson claimed in his speech that Faeldon was aware of the tara system at the Customs, which has been corrupting the agency for so long. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

READ: Lacson bares Customs 'tara' list

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