A witness in the investigation on the shabu shipment from China revealed he gave out bribes to certain officials of the Bureau of Customs on a weekly basis.
During a House inquiry, Customs broker Mark Taguba said he orders some of his personnel to hand out the bribes. The amount depends on the number of containers he handles per week.
"Your Honor, per week kasi 'yan eh. Biyernes, kunwari 'yun ang napag-usapan, doon ko na ibibigay 'yung pang isang linggo nila. Kung ilan na po 'yung isang linggo ko na," Taguba said.
Taguba added that most of the officials have their own personnel who will meet with his personnel to get the money.
"May tao rin akong nag-aabot sa kanila. Depende po, iba iba po sila. Meron 'yung meron silang tao na kukuha sa tao ko," he said.
Taguba, likewise, said he also bribed some Customs policemen.
"Meron pong mga, hindi naman po siya per containers, parang abot abot lang... Mga pulis sa Customs, mga abot abot nga lang po," he said.
He also mentioned a certain Chris Bulastig who claims to be collecting money for the office of Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.
"Merong nagsabi sa akin na ilipat ko daw sa kanya, 'yung Chris Bulastig, nagne-name drop siya na ako ang nagkokolekta para sa opis ni Commissioner," Taguba said, adding that he has never given any money to Bulastig.
THE 'TARA' SYSTEM
Taguba earlier revealed the names of Customs officials 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.
'YOU HAVE ALREADY DESTROYED ME'
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.