MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED – 8:40 P.M.) Senator Panfilo Lacson acknowledged Thursday that his son Panfilo Jr., accused of smuggling by outgoing Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, travels to Davao City and had his photos taken with presidential sons Paolo and Baste Duterte.
A photo of Pampi Lacson in his Instagram (IG) account also shows him with Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr., who is being linked by customs broker Mark Ruben Taguba II to the Davao Group that allegedly has corrupt dealings with the Bureau of Customs.
In the same IG photo, Pampi greeted Abellera “happy birthday.”
Senator Lacson said, however, that he was unsure whether his son really knew Abellera and whether the Duterte brothers would still remember Pampi.
Asked by reporters on Thursday whether his son and Abellera knew each other, the senator said, “Di ko alam pero napupunta siya ng Davao [I don’t know, but he goes to Davao].”
The lawmaker also stressed that he had warned Pampi about associating too much with high-profile personalities like them.
“Alam ko may pic siya with Baste or Paolo but that’s all there is to it. Sabi ko huwag ka masyadong magdidikit sa mga ganyan kasi mako-controversial ka.”
“Siguro nag-selfie, namasyal doon. I’m not even sure kung matatandaan siya nina Paolo o kaya ni Baste.”
At a press conference Thursday morning, Faeldon claimed Lacson Jr. “smuggled” shiploads of cement by undervaluing their freight costs by at least 50 percent — $8 per metric ton when the prevailing rate worldwide is $16-20. He said the senator’s son did this with a total of 67 shipments and deprived government of “billions of pesos.”
He also insinuated that Lacson Jr. was only a “dummy” of the senator.
Senator Lacson scoffed at Faeldon’s accusation, saying it was illogical for him to make such serious allegations about corruption at Customs if he or his son were deep into shenanigans there.
Two recent posts from Lacson Jr.’s Instagram account show him with Paolo Duterte (June 11), and Abellera, this one dated August 7 and with the greeting: “Happy birthday small abellera,” which was later removed from Pampi’s IG account.
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