MANILA - Recently appointed Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña revealed Wednesday that the rumored "pasalubong" or welcome gift for new agency officials are taken from tax credits.
Tax credit concern money that should be refunded to companies due to tax exemptions, excess payment of tariffs and duties, and non-arrival or cancellation of imports, Lapeña told a Senate inquiry into the alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Certificates for releasing the refund, he said, are consolidated and signed only when a new commissioner is appointed.
Lapeña, who was appointed to the BOC in August, said he already signed the certificates when a concerned BOC personnel told him that 3 to 7 percent of tax credits are used for pasalubong.
Lapeña said he has recalled the certificates he signed and ordered an investigation into the matter.
"What I intend to do, to be very transparent about this, is to award or release these tax credit certificates during the flag raising ceremony and inform everybody, publicly, that this is being released and there's no any consideration on my part," he added.
BOC has been at the heart of 2 legislative probes for failing to intercept a P6.4 billion shabu haul smuggled into the country last May.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has since accused Lapeña's predecessor, Nicanor Faeldon, of pocketing P100 million in pasalubong.
Customs fixer Mark Taguba also claimed that he gave millions of pesos to several BOC officials for the release of questionable shipments.