MANILA - The head of the Bureau of Customs confirmed Monday that no Customs employee is facing charges over the P6.4 billion shabu shipment that slipped past the ports of Manila.
Instead, 9 private individuals are facing raps over the shipment.
"This is how the investigation went your honor," Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña told a puzzled Senator Bam Aquino who was wondering how it happened as a lot of BOC personnel were mentioned in previous Senate hearings.
"If I have other investigators, maybe I would be able to find some people from the Bureau of Customs also to be liable," he said.
He added only Customs officer Lambert Hilario was suspended and moved to another department.
Lapeña explained it was the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) who conducted the probe among their own staff and personnel -- something he admits is "one point of reform."
Among the personalities charged before the Department of Justice in relation to the shabu shipment were Irene Mae Tatad, Tee Jay Marcellana, Mark Ruben Taguba II, Richard Chen, Fidel Anoche Dee, Chen I. Min, Jhu Ming Jhun, Manny Li, and Kenneth Dong.
Lapeña said they have asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Customs officials implicated by Senator Panfilo Lacson in a privilege speech last year.
Among the officials tagged by Lacson in the "tara" (grease money) system are former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon, Deputy Commissioners Teddy Raval, Ariel Nepomuceno, Gerardo Gambala, Natalio Ecarma III, Edward Dy Buco, and Customs Intelligence chief Neil Estrella.
Also on Lacson's list were Zsae De Guzman, Chief of the BOC Intellectual Property Rights Division; Larribert Hilario from the BOC Risk Management Office; Joel Pinawin, officer-in-charge of the Intelligence Division; and Milo Maestrecampo, formerly of the Imports and Assessments Service.
Faeldon, and the other officials have repeatedly denied the allegations, with some of them quitting their respective posts.