It was obvious in Thursday’s Senate Blue Ribbon hearing on the 604 kilos of shabu that slipped through the watch of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) under then Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, that Committee Chair Sen. Richard Gordon does not want the truth to come out since the trail was leading to the direction of the Davao Group which allegedly involves not only presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte but also presidential son-in-law lawyer Mans Carpio.
During the hearing, it was very noticeable that Gordon was soft on Davao Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera, a very good friend of Paolo, who admitted having met Customs broker Mark Taguba and a certain Jack in a restaurant in Davao City.
Taguba claimed that in the Davao meeting, he gave P5 million to Abellera as “enrolment fee” for the Davao group that facilitates release of shipment at the Bureau of Customs. He gave the money in Abellera’s car after they had lunch. They again met in the evening at a restobar.
Taguba said Abellera complained about another customs broker who reneged on their agreement. The councilor denied Taguba’s allegation saying they met only in the evening.
Aside from the alleged delivery of the P5 million, there were other stark disparities in the testimonies of Taguba and Abellera which Gordon did not follow up.
It was the 26-year-old Taguba who Gordon “badgered”, in the words of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, without pursuing the trail that would lead to Paolo and Carpio which were all in the text messages from customs broker’s cellphone which he submitted to the committee.
A Jan. 11, 9:20 a.m message from a "Tita Nani” spoke about the trip that Taguba was going to make to Davao to deliver the P5 million to Paolo. That was the meeting that Taguba spoke about yesterday.
The text message was: “Good am, Mark, we’ll make final arrangement with Jack. He is the handler of Paolo. Now, we have to advance the enroll—he can fly down to Davao to arrange your meeting with Polong ASAP. During the meeting, you personally turn over the five million, same manner you likewise you turn over the 1MLN to Jack when we meet.”
A March 3, 5:40 p.m. text from Taguba to Nani showed, “Tita Nani binigay ko na po kay Tito Jojo pati yung kay P.”
Tito Jojo referred to a certain Jojo Bacud, who is said to be working with the BOC’s Special Studies and Project Development Committee.
The name of Mans Carpio was in a March 17 text message which said,”Tita there’s no need to panic. I haven’t filed it yet. All I need from Tito Jack is for either P or Mance to call collector Jet Maronilla that we have go signal for our SPL.”
SPL means Special Permit to Load. Maronilla is a collector assigned at Manila International Container Port.
Nani replied,”No panic, no worry but traffic is very bad and Jack is waiting.” To which Taguba replied, “Tita the money is ready.”
In last Tuesday’s hearing, Trillanes was able to elicit former BOC intelligence chief Neil Estrella, who is on the list of Lacson as one of the recipients of tara or payola from importers, that he once saw Carpio coming out of the office of Faeldon.
Trillanes, however, said the information he gathered was Carpio went to the BOC five times and Paolo, twice.
In a statement issued in his Facebook page, Carpio confirmed that he went to the Bureau of Customs to represent his clients. He blasted Trillanes for putting malice in his BOC visits.
Charlie Tan and Henry Tan, who are on Lacson’s list as bribe givers/players with the Davao group, were also mentioned in Taguba’s text messages.
On March 7, Tues 7:45 a.m. Nani texted Taguba,” Good morning March, let’s meet at 1 pm at Blue Bay at UCC but let’s go to a place in the area that’s less peopled. FYI, all special of the Teves family bros this week will not enjoy any privilege n cut off na sina Charlie Tan and Henry Tan.”
Taguba replied an hour after: “Cge gud am, I was watching the news yesterday about Charlie Tan.”
Taguba must be referring to the testimony of confessed member of the Davao Death Squad Arturo Lascanas last March 6 that Paolo Duterte intercepted a suspected drug shipment consigned to Charlie Tan which he was initially told to monitor and confiscate.
Sen. Vicente Sotto’s warped thinking was again in full display Thursday when he said that the persons behind the importation of the 604 kilos of shabu must be happy because the investigation is going into other directions. “Kani-kanino na napunta. Napunta na sa Davao,” he said.
Kasi nga sa Davao ang puno’t dulo. Mahirap ba yan intindihin?
Photo credits: Text messages from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
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