Customs broker names officials allegedly pocketing bribes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2017 02:49 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2017 11:37 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - A witness in the investigation on the shabu shipment from China revealed names of officials in the Bureau of Customs allegedly involved in bribery. 

During a House inquiry, Customs broker Mark Taguba was asked to stand up and point at officials in his list of people receiving "tara" (grease money):

The officials he named are:

Deputy Commissioner Atty. Teddy Raval
Manila International Container Port District Collector Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla
Customs Intelligence & Investigation Services Director Neil Estrella
Customs Intelligence & Investigation Services officer Teddy Sagaral
Imports and Assessment Service Director Milo Maestrecampo
A certain "Major Gutierrez" (deceased)
A certain "Maita Acevedo"
A certain "Jason"

He also mentioned a certain "Tita Nani" who gives him tariff codes "so we wouldn't get an alert." 

After the revelation of Taguba, Rep. Fredenil Castro requested the House to provide security for the witness. 

The lawmakers requested Taguba to give them the list of all those officials who are not present in the hearing. 

Taguba, who claims to have knowledge in the distribution of tara in the agency, earlier requested to be in the Witness Protection Program. 

The officials accused by Taguba, who were present in the hearing, all denied their involvement in the alleged bribery. 

Atty. Raval said he has not met or spoken to Taguba prior to the hearing. He claims, however, that a certain "Jerry" was texting him. 

"I have not met Mr. Taguba prior to this hearing, I have not talked either by phone or in person," he said. "I only have 5 people in my staff. There is no 'Jerry' there."

Atty. Maronilla, meanwhile, said he has not authorized anyone to collect money on his behalf. 

"If there is someone presenting himself to be connected with Office of Collector, as what Mr. Taguba said, I welcome the information and I will investigate it," he said. 

Estrella, for his part, admits being hurt by the accusations against Customs. 

"Pakiramdam ko ho ngayon sasabihin ko sa mga tao ko, ito po yung risk ng ating profession. I will face my accuser in the proper forum," he said.

A disheartened Maestrecampo, meanwhile, said he will be resigning from his position after the probe. He said he submits himself, his records, his account to any investigation. 

"You have already destroyed me," he said. "I am not receiving money from illicit activities I am contented with my sahod (salary)."

Meanwhile, Sagaral said this is the first time in his 44 years of service from the military to the Customs that he has been accused of corruption. A senior citizen, he said he hopes to clear his name before he retires. 

"Nakakalungkot pong isipin na sira na ho ang pangalan namin ngayon. Pati po ang pangalan ng aking mga kamaganak, [nasira na rin]," he said, adding that he is ready to face any investigation.