BOC officials: Yes, there is ‘tara system’ in Customs

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Several officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) confirmed that the “tara system,” which Senator Panfilo Lacson recently exposed in a privilege speech, is existing within the agency.

At the start of the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the corruption in the BOC on Thursday, Sept. 7, Lacson asked Customs officials if the tara system indeed existed in the agency.

All of them answered in the affirmative.

Among those who said “Yes” were newly installed BOC commissioner Isidro Lapeña, former BOC deputy commissioner Gerardo Gambala, former BOC commissioner chief-of-staff Mandy Anderson, and Joel Pinawin of the BOC’s Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).

“The information I got, there was this tara system and the tara system is actually a ‘lagay system’ to facilitate the movement of the goods of certain businessmen,” Lapeña said.

Pinawin said the P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment made it past the BOC’s inspection because of the tara system.

“Kaya nakalabas ang 605 kilograms ng shabu dahil dumaan sa green lane. So since ito ay general merchandise at galing ng China, supposed to be dapat under red lane; so nagiging green lane kasi may nababayaran sa BOC,” he said.

(The reason why the 605 kilograms of shabu got out is that it went through the green lane. So since this is general merchandise and from China, it’s supposed to be under the red lane; it went through the green lane because someone was paid in the BOC.)

Asked by Lacson which BOC offices are receiving grease money, Pinawin said the BOC’s Risk Management Office, district collectors and “district assessment.”

Gambala also said he was informed of “extortion, harassment, and issues of people helping importers or other unscrupulous persons to undertake technical smuggling.”

Meanwhile, Anderson said some of the rank-and-file employees in the BOC mentioned to them that there was “a system of distribution of money.” –

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