Customs employee claims she collected bribes for bosses

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2017 11:53 AM

MANILA - A customs employee came forward on Wednesday alleging she had been instructed to collect bribes from fixer Mark Taguba for her 2 bosses on at least 3 occasions.

Mae Escueto told senators she had received 2 brown envelopes containing cash last May 5 for former customs intelligence chief Neil Estrella and division chief Joel Pinawin.

Escueto said she handed over the envelopes with the 2 officials’ names to Pinawin during the bureau’s team building seminar in Batangas the following day.

“Inabot ko na po kay Sir Joel. May body bag po ako. Dun ko po nilagay yung nakuha ko kay Sir Mark na evelope,” she told the blue ribbon committee hearing.

The following day, she said Pinawin took her mobile phone’s sim card and gave her money to buy a new one.

Escueto said Pinawin had also instructed her to contact Taguba on April 7 and 21 to follow up on the weekly bribe.

Taguba, who detailed the corruption scheme called “tara” system in last week’s Senate hearing, said each envelope usually contained not less than P50,000 for Estrella and between P10,000 and P20,000 for Pinawin.

Estrella and Pinawin denied the allegation.

Pinawin said Taguba, Escueto, and her supposed husband, Ricardo “Tisoy” Carvajal, were “conspiring” to pin him down.

Taguba told senators he had also transacted with “Tisoy.”