Duterte stands by Faeldon; solons want him out
CUSTOMS Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, the man lawmakers want to quit his post, remains clean but the people around him were not, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.
The President vouched for the credibility of the embattled former military man despite being in hot water for alleged gross incompetence for failing to stop the entry of P6.4 billion worth of illicit drugs from China.
“Faeldon, I will stand by him. Purely honest,” the President said during his speech at the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Malacañang.
Duterte said that many officials in the corruption-riddled agency embezzled their way to stashing cash from government coffers.
“My god, I hope I will not offend a particular person, but they are the ones with good houses, good cars...” he added.
Despite the President’s statements, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez renewed his call to Faeldon to quit his post to spare Duterte from embarrassment even as the latter also admitted corruption in his agency persists more than a year after he was appointed to the office.
“I think he [Faeldon] should spare the President from further embarrassment especially that the Office of the President actively campaigns against illegal drugs and corruption,” Alvarez said.
Faeldon is facing congressional inquiries on the supposed P6.4 billion worth of shabu smuggling inside the Bureau of Customs later seized in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
“This issue involves illegal drugs, and not just grams but kilos, even tons of shabu. It was also established during committee investigations that there was corruption involved here. So for those two main reasons, I think he should spare the President from further embarrassment,” Alvarez said.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs which investigated the smuggling of shabu at the BoC, said his panel would recommend to Duterte the sacking of Faeldon following his failure to quell the entry of multibillion-peso worth of shabu in the country.
Barbers said the House committee on good government and public accountability, chaired by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, might continue the probe on other BoC controversy.
“The committee on ways and means is still conducting a hearing. Maybe the committee on good government and public accountability will also hold the hearing to investigate other allegations of graft and corruption at the Customs bureau,” said Barbers, whose panel has started drafting its report on the supposed shabu smuggling.
Earlier, Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, chairperson of the House committee on ways and means, said he would recommend the abolition of the Command Center of BoC.
The ComCen is under the control of BoC commissioner which has the authority to issue alert orders and subject questionable shipments to inspection.
Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, chairperson of the House committee on games and amusement, said Faeldon must go.
“Commissioner Faeldon must face the music. His actions clearly violated his sacred duty to the Filipino people. We also believe that these actions constitute clear violations of our anti-graft laws. He should resign,” Tambunting said.
Tambunting said the separate House probes on the failure of the BoC to stop the P6 billion worth of shabu which went through the BOC’s so-called “green” or express lane, revealed a related thread of supposed mismanagement, if not alleged outright corruption at the Commission.