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Taguba shows text saying ‘Jack’ of ‘Davao Group’ is handler of ‘Paolo’

Customs "fixer" Mark Taguba on Tuesday showed the Senate blue ribbon committee a text message he supposedly received mentioning the names “Paolo” and “Pulong” before he met with Davao councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. to personally pay a P5-million “enrollment fee” that would allow his shipments to go through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) “without being alerted.”

Taguba said he first dealt with a certain “Jojo Bacud,” who claimed to be working with the BOC’s Special Studies and Project Development Committee (SSPDC).

Bacud was introduced to him by his father, Roel Taguba. According to blue ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon, Bacud and the elder Taguba were both former councilors of Cagayan de Oro.

Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala said the SSPDC acts as a smuggling task force and is directly under the Office of the Commissioner. Former Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Director Neil Anthony Estrella said Bacud introduces himself as a Customs officer but is “not in the appearance at the area of the BOC.”

Taguba said he paid Bacud P5,000 per container. “Para daw hindi na ma-alert yung mga kargamento at para mababa yung tax na babayaran,” Taguba said.

Taguba said he was then referred to a certain “Tita Nanie,” a member of the so-called Davao Group, after having problems with Bacud.

“Pinakilala ni Tito Jojo ako sa kanila tapos sinabi na malakas daw sa Davao. Tapos magbibigay daw ako ng enrollment fee which is P5 million, sabi ni Tita Nanie,” Taguba said.

Nanie Koh and Lorna Rosario, who were thought to be behind the alias Tita Nanie were both invited to the hearing. Taguba, however, said neither of the two was the Tita Nanie he spoke to.

Taguba read a message he received from Tita Nanie on January 11, which stated: “Good am, Mark. Will make final arrangement with Jack. He is the handler of Paolo. Now we have to advance the enroll. He can fly down to Davao to arrange a meeting with Pulong ASAP. During the meeting, you personally turn over the P5 million same manner you likewise turn over the LMLN to Jack when we meet.”

Taguba flew to Davao and met with Abellera to hand over the P5 million in enrollment fee. He said the fee would allow his shipments to pass through Customs “without being alerted.”

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV asked Taguba whether Pulong refers to Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte. Taguba said: “Yun po ang sabi nila.”

After that, Taguba said he was required to pay P10,000 per container or an estimated P1-million fee per week to Jack.

“Na-alert na rin ako kasi ang hinala ko, hindi nare-remit. Hindi nakakarating ang pera. Na-alert ako pagkaraan ng three months... Kinausap ko si Tita Nanie kasi yun ang una kong nakilala. Sabi ko na-alert ako pero hindi ako tinutulungan ni Jack,” Taguba said.

Taguba said Tita Nanie then referred him to a certain “Noel” and “Big Brother,” whose real name was a certain “General Capuyan.” Trillanes said it was Col. Allen Capuyan of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983.

Taguba said it was the third group he dealt with for his transactions in the BOC.

“May instruction sila na may email at nandoon lahat ng tariff codes na gagamitin kasi no human intervention na daw,” Taguba said.

Taguba is one of the nine individuals charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in relation to the P6.4-billion worth of shabu shipment smuggled from China in May. — MDM/KVD, GMA News