Customs officials allegedly accepting bribes named

MANILA — Ranking officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) allegedly received bribe money to process shipments that the agency receives, private broker Mark Taguba revealed on Monday.

During the congressional inquiry on the biggest drug shipment under the Duterte administration on Monday, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro asked Taguba to identify who among the BOC officials are receiving payoffs.

Taguba then walked and stood behind the officials present at the hearing whom he implicated to corruption.

Among these officials were:

• BOC’s Intelligence and Investigation Service director (CIIS) Neil Anthony Estrella
• Intelligence Group deputy commissioner Teddy Raval
• Import Assessment Services (IAS) Director Milo Maestrecampo
• Manila International Container Port (MCIP) district collector Vincent Philip Maronilla
• CIIS officer Teddy Sagaral
• A certain “Major Gutierrez” who passed away last July
• A certain “Maita Acebedo”
• A certain “Jason” of X-ray divion
• A certain “Jojo”
• A certain “Gerry”
• A certain “Alex”
• A certain “Sandra”
• A certain “Alfred”

Estrella, Raval, Maestrecampo, Maronilla and Sagaral — all present at the hearing — denied Taguba’s allegations.

Estrella was among the Customs officials who planned the raid against separate Valenzuela City warehouses where the P6.4-billion worth of shabu from China was confiscated.

He categorically denied Taguba’s accusations but he said he would be willing to submit himself to any investigation.

“Kung tumatanggap kami, bakit hinuli namin ang shipment (If we received payoffs, why did we raid the shipment)?” Estrella said after Taguba tagged him as one of BOC’s corrupt officials.

“Nakakasakit ng damdamin. Mahihirapan kami ng bumawi, sa reputasyon kasama ng pamilya namin. Napakalaking epekto nito samin,” Estrella said.

(It’s very hurtful. We will have a difficult time to clear our and our families’ reputation. This has a big effect on us.)

In an earlier Senate inquiry, Estrella said he met with Richard Tan, owner of one of the warehouses, to inform the former of the shipment.

Maestrecampo, one of the former Magdalo soldiers appointed to the BOC, was emotional when he responded to allegations that he’s corrupt.

“I hope you realize. I live in a small town. We’re on national television. You have already destroyed me… I am not receiving money from illicit activities. I’m contented with my sahod (pay) pero binuyangyang na sa media (but this has reached the news),” Maestrecampo said.

Maestrecampo also denied knowing “Tita Nani” whom Taguba transacted with representing his office.

“When I go back to Customs, I will step down from my appointed post. I will submit anything to the investigation,” he said.
Taguba said he paid bribe money of up to P34,000 weekly to the office of the said personalities.

Raval, for his part, said he has never met Taguba prior to the hearings.

“I categorically and specifically deny allegations of Taguba,” he said.

Raval said he even issued a memorandum instructing personnel in his office not to transact with anyone outside the BOC.

Maronilla also maintained that he did not authorize anyone from his office to collect any bribe money on his behalf.

“I deny the allegations that my office is getting something. Personally, I’ve not asked anyone to get anything for and my behalf,” he said.

Sagaral also denied the allegations.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na sira na ang pangalan namin ngayon nationwide. Wala na akong magagawa, pati pangalan ng mga kamaganak dahil sa isang akusasyon (It’s sad to think that our names have been ruined nationwide. I can’t do anything, even the names of our relatives, just because of an accusation),” Sagaral said.