Duterte won’t fire Customs chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2017 06:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2017 11:10 AM

Bureau of Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon. File

MANILA - Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon continues to enjoy the confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte, even after some P6.4 billion worth of illicit drugs from China slipped past the country’s ports.

In a statement, Dominguez confirmed Duterte met with Faeldon on Tuesday afternoon.

“The Chief Executive has expressed his full confidence in Commissioner Faeldon and told him to focus on serving the country,” Dominguez said in a statement.

The President on Tuesday summoned Faeldon to the Palace after printing machines containing some 600 kilos of shabu in May slipped past BOC's green lane, which have relatively relaxed security checks compared to red and yellow lanes.

Authorities, acting on a tip from Beijing, eventually found the drug shipment in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.

Both chambers of Congress are conducting a probe into the entry of the illegal drugs. Lawmakers slammed the Bureau of Customs, considered one of the most corrupt agencies in the country, for letting the illegal shipment slip out of the country's ports.

On Monday, Faeldon slammed accusations he had ties to the owner of the warehouse where the shabu was recovered.

"This attempt to link me in the apprehended shabu is outrageous. The photos themselves will prove that I only met Mr. Chen on the day of the raid itself,” Faeldon said.

A July 30 photo which circulated on social media showed Faeldon with Richard Chen, owner of the Hongfei Logistics warehouse in Valenzuela that housed the illegal drugs. 

Faeldon said the photo "maliciously" implied that it was taken before the BOC raid last May 26.

Faeldon said he "reluctantly agreed" to have a photo with Chen out of courtesy to the latter's request.

“The people behind this malicious attack only proved that I had crossed big names in the illegal drugs trade. However, this will not slow down our fight against drugs,” he added.