MANILA—Some customs officers make money by withholding the release of tax credit certificates (TCC) in a scheme that raises millions of pesos, a percentage of which are set aside as “welcome gift” for new commissioners, the bureau’s new chief told senators Wednesday.
Citing information from a bureau insider, Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said these officers get a 3-percent to 7-percent cut from the total amount of TCCs they refuse to release.
The amount that can go to a new commissioner for “pasalubong” (welcome gift) can hit P35 million for a particular batch of TCCs, he said.
“A certain percentage goes to the ‘pasalubong.’ Maybe part of it will also go to those who are processing it,” he told reporters after the hearing.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier alleged former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon received P100 million when he assumed the post.
Faeldon denied the allegation and filed an ethics complaint against Lacson.
Companies that paid tariff duties for raw materials for their export products are entitled to TCCs, which can later be deducted from taxes they owe government.
Lapeña said he had ordered the recall of TCCs he had signed when he found out about the scheme. Not doing so, he said, would create the “impression” that he was also on the take.
“What I intend to do… to be very transparent about it is to award these tax credit certificates during the flag raising ceremonies and inform everybody, publicly, that this is being released and there’s no consideration on my part,” he said