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Broker reveals another person paying off Customs officials

Broker reveals another person paying off Customs officials

MANILA: Broker Mark Taguba said he’s not the only one who has been paying off Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials to facilitate the faster release of shipments.

During the House of Representatives’ August 9 hearing on the ₱6.4 billion shabu shipment smuggled from China in May, Taguba mentioned a certain “Kimberly” who has bigger operations than him, bringing in as many as 250 containers a week.

He added that Kimberly is linked to Atty. Chris Bolastig, who he said allegedly collects “tara” or grease money for Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

In an August 2 press conference, Faeldon said he will not stand for corruption in the Customs bureau.

“Maybe they see that I’m not fit in this job,” he said, referring to government officials who want him to resign.

“I respect them,” he added. “I know nothing about Customs. I will just say no to you if you try to corrupt this bureau. ‘Yun lang ang alam ko (That’s all I know).”

Taguba asked to meet lawmakers behind closed doors in an executive session to disclose the alleged anomalies within the BOC.

In an August 7 House hearing, Taguba admitted to paying as much as ₱34,500 per container to Customs officials to facilitate the speedy release of his shipments.

Following Taguba’s revelation, Surigao del Norte Congressman Robert Ace Barbers urged Customs officials to keep an eye out for Kimberly as she may be helping certain persons bring in cargo that could have contraband items like illegal drugs.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service director Neil Estrella said he has heard of Kimberly, but that she is not on the BOC’s list of accredited brokers.