BELOW is the full text of the statement issued by former customs commissioner, Isidro Lapeña, that he so kindly sent to yours truly on Monday night, just hours after the “surprising news” that he was among those charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) over the case of the sensational “disappearance” of 105 containers at Port of Manila (POM) last March.
I am quite familiar with this incident, dear readers, having “covered” it since the day it disappeared and up to the time that Congress concluded its hearings on this brouhaha -- and where our lawmakers exonerated Lapeña,
Thus, I am reprinting here ‘Comm.’ Lapeña’s statement believing that it contains the truth and nothing but the truth. For unknown to many, we are, all the while, in regular communication over this controversy.
Here is Comm. Sid’s statement:
“It is unfortunate that the NBI concluded its investigations on the case of the 105 illegally released containers from the Port of Manila without getting any statements from me.
“What is more unfortunate is that the NBI did not unmask the real people behind the illegal scheme.
“I would like to stress that if not for the 22 alert orders I issued against the subject shipments totaling 119 containers in all, the unlawful release of the 105 containers would not have been discovered.
“This modus would have continued unnoticed. I know that this illegal scheme is possibly happening even long before I was placed in the Bureau of Customs.
“Under my watch, this modus was uncovered; it was under my watch that we discovered 105 containers illegally released from the (ATI) terminal, through the use of fake documents.
“In fact, I have filed criminal cases against 53 involved personalities and I referred to (the) PACC (Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission) the case of Port of Manila district collector at the time (Atty. Vener Baquiran) for failure to observe relevant procedures that led to the unauthorized release of said shipments.
“It is unclear to me why would (the) NBI find negligence on my part when I was the one who alerted the containers.
“Based on existing procedure in the BoC, the release of containers from a certain port is the responsibility of the concerned officers of that port.
“I was hoping that their investigation would lead to finding out the truth and the people who connived to release the 105 containers from the terminal.
“I leave the development of this case to the Department of Justice.
“I maintain that I did the right thing that was supposed to be done at that time.”
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If it is any “consolation” to Sec. Lapeña (as PDU30 made it clear, his transfer to TESDA as director general last month is a “promotion” as it is a ‘Cabinet-rank’ position), he would not be the first customs commissioner to be at the “receiving end” of the NBI, hehehe!
Remember Comm. Ruffy Biazon?
Comm. Ruffy was forced to resign in December 2013, AFTER he was also “surprisingly” charged by the NBI in connection with the PDAF scandal, back when he was still a congressman, late in November of that year.
Being also quite close to Comm. Ruffy, he was quite upset -- and bitter -- during our ‘one-on-one’ meeting that seemingly from out of nowhere, his name was suddenly in the NBI ‘charge sheet.’
This, after being “assured repeatedly” by his own “sources” at the bureau that he has nothing to worry about.
With due respect to NBI director, Atty. Dante Gierran and DoJ secretary, Menardo Guevarra, sometimes, you have to closely monitor the activities of your people at the NBI if only to prevent the agency’s good name from being dragged into controversies like being used for political hatchet jobs and ‘vendettas.’
And yes, Jose, there is a so-called ‘NBI Brokerage’ that suffered much under Comm. Sid.