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Of ‘truth’ and ‘half-truth’

  • Written by Paul M. Gutierrez
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 423

Paul's alarm

NARROWLY missing being cited for contempt -- with the penalty of detention -- during last Tuesday’s third hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the successful smuggling into the country of 605 kilos of shabu last May, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon defended his utter inutility in stopping the “tara culture” at the agency by claiming he was “alone”.

“Admittedly, I failed to investigate it (rampant bribery) because I cannot do it alone.

“I was the only one appointed up to late last year. The people I have worked with there are the people I suspect doing the tara,” Faeldon said, as quoted by the media during the Senate hearing.

Well, give it to Comm. Nick’s “quick thinking,” dear readers, in coming up with such a “defense,” no matter how incredible and flimsy, considering that the “hostile questioning” is coming from not only committee chair, Sen. Dick Gordon, but also, from his ‘comrade-in-arms-turn-enemy’, Sen. Sonny Trillanes.

Well, for most people familiar with the goings on at the waterfront, Comm. Nick’s reply is a slap on his own face, aray ko po!

This, if we consider, Sen. Dick, that just days previously, in a press conference Faeldon called on learning of the “coming out” of ‘Risk Management Office’ (RMO) chief, Atty. Larribert Hilario, he urged Hilario to tell the “truth” and not ‘half-truth,’ because, as he puts it then, “half-truth is a lie”.
    
As waterfront observers pointed out, ‘How can Comm. Nick claim that he was “all alone” during his first six months at the bureau when the fact of the matter is that, despite their lack of proper appointment (from the Palace), he and his ‘Grupong Magdalo’ colleagues are already “crowding all over the place,” so to speak.
    
Legally and technically speaking, Comm. Nick is correct insofar as the appointments to their present designation at the agency of his Grupong Magdalo is concerned. But the other “half of the truth” is that, those he brought in are in fact performing managerial functions long before they received their appointments.
    
Hindi ba kahit wala pa silang mga pormal na ‘appointment’ at kahit pa nga mga “JO” (job order) pa lang sila, nasa BoC na sina Gerardo Gambala, Milo Maestrocampo, Neil Estrella, Mike Sabban, Atty. Mandy Anderson, Atty. Jelina Magsuci, etc., etc.?
    
At bagaman nga mga ‘consultant’ lang (daw) noong mga panahon na ’yun, hindi ba sila na ang “totoong” “nagmamando” sa kani-kanilang mga tanggapan?
    
And yes, Sen. Dick, one only has to refer to Comm. Nick’s controversial CMO 23-2016 dated September 7, 2016 and which effectively “centralized” the bureau’s ‘Alert System’ to his similarly controversial “ComCen” (Comand Center), to appreciate the fact that as early as that month, Comm. Nick has already “consolidated” his authority to the point of being able to “apportion” the bureau’s awesome power to hold and alert any shipment to his own group.
    
Oh well, on the next hearing, our lawmakers may want to further confirm if the “innocence” displayed by Comm. Nick in dealing with the long pestering problem of corruption at the agency is genuine or feigned?
    
This they can do by asking him if it is true that when then DCI Jessie Dellosa left in August 2016, he “left behind” a list of suspected smugglers to Comm. Nick and Estrella.
    
If true, then it behooves one’s intelligence to conclude that as early as his first month in office, Comm. Nick and his group are already made aware of the “personalities” (like Mark Taguba, House of Tebes, Madam Kimberly, etc., etc.) they would have to deal with insofar as the problem of “tara” is concerned.
    
In short, for Comm. Nick to claim one year later (in the ongoing congressional hearings) that he was “alone” in dealing with corruption at the agency or that he is “unaware” of the “existence” of a ‘Players’ List’ (read: names of alleged smugglers) is well, not necessarily an expression of “half-truths.”
    
It can also be a “reflection” of Comm. Nick and his group’s, uhm… “incompetence,” as Sen. Dick condescendingly puts it, ahahay!

MGA ‘SECTION CHIEF’ ANG IPATAWAG
    
Sa pagdinig ng Senado noong nakaraang Martes hinggil pa rin sa isyu ng nakalusot na shabu sa BoC na “dumaan” sa MICP, kasama sa mga ipinatawag -- subalit hindi natanong -- ang Customs examiner sa FEDC Section 15.
    
Ang nasabing ‘assessment section,’ mga kabayan, ang “paborito” ng mga katulad nitong si Mark Taguba at iba pang ‘players’ na ang kargamento ay mga “GM.”
    
Kung bakit ang pobreng ‘examiner’ ang ipinatawag sa pagdinig -- at hindi ang kanyang “hepe” na kasama sa “inginuso” ni Mark na umano’y “tumatanggap” ng “tara” sa kanya, itong si ‘Madam Sandra,’  hindi maintidihan ng mga miron.
    
Hindi ba “mas nasa posisyon” ang mga hepe ng bawat ‘section’ upang magsumbong, err, magpaliwanag, kung anong mga “kababalaghan” ang nangyayari sa “ibaba” ng proseso ng mga kargamento?
    
At marahil, dapat na ring isama sa ipatatawag ng ating mga mambabatas itong mga hepe naman sa ‘Section 10’ (hardware) dahil kahit naman pala “mahigpit” at “paulit-ulit” na ang tagubilin sa kanila ni MICP district collector, Atty. Jett Maronilla, na “ipatupad” ang mga batas at regulasyon sa mga tamang deklarasyon at pagbabayad ng buwis, aba’y “matitigas” pa rin ang mga ulo, partikular pa kung mga kargamento nitong si ‘Madam Kimberly’ ang dumadaan sa kanila.
    
Siguro, dapat tanungin itong mga taong ito kung sino ba ang kanilang “boss,” si Coll. Maronilla ba o, itong si madam? At hindi ba talaga sila “natatakot” sa nangyayaring imbestigasyon sa Senado at Kongreso?
    
Katulad na lang nang huling ‘shipment’ nitong ‘186 Construction Supply’ (Entry No. C-220630) na bagaman lumalabas na P27,000 ang ‘average customs duty’ na binayaran, “kaduda-duda” naman ang ‘declared weight’ nito. Hindi kaya “dinaya?”
    
At bakit nga pala hindi rin man lang ito inalerto ng ComCen ni DCM Gerardo Gambala at IAS chief, Milo Maestrocampo? Sa magkano, agh, sa anong dahilan kaya?
    
Just asking, hehehe!