Sick Customs chief skips Senate probe on shabu shipment

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2017 11:57 AM | Updated as of Aug 09 2017 10:53 PM

MANILA - Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon skipped the continuation of the Senate inquiry into the P6.4 billion shabu shipment from China on Wednesday.

In a letter to the Blue Ribbon Committee, Faeldon said he was diagnosed with "non-ST elevation myocardial infarction coronary syndrome" and "hypertensive urgency stage 2" last Monday.

Due to his illness, the Customs chief said he was confined at the Manila East Medical Center until yesterday and was advised to rest further in order to recover.

Letter of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

Faeldon, who has come under fire for the large amount of shabu that entered the country, also failed to show up at the House of Representatives' probe on the same issue last Monday.

Some lawmakers, disappointed with the mess in the Bureau of Customs, said Faeldon should resign. President Rodrigo Duterte, however, said he still believes in Faeldon's integrity.

RICHARD TAN FACES SENATE PROBE

Despite Faeldon's absence, the Senate probe resumed today. The Chinese businessman whose company delivered to the Philippines the shipment that contained shabu faced the lawmakers.

Speaking through a translator, Richard Tan said he was informed by the Chinese Customs that some suspicious items might be included in the shipment his company HongFei sent to Manila.

He was also informed via phone call by Wang Zhi Dong, head of the Chinese Customs Inspection, that the suspects were already caught and executed back in China.

The businessman said he was only able to confirm that there was shabu in the shipment when Customs officials went to his Valenzuela warehouse and opened some crates.

Affidavit of Chinese businessman Richard Tan.

Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

Tan said he sent his wife back to China to seek help from authorities, and also got in touch with the Chinese embassy, when he got the information because he feared for his life.

The businessman, who has been in the Philippines for over 20 years, was also asked to explain why he had a photo with Faeldon and Customs Intelligence chief Neil Estrella.

Tan said he did not know both officials and he was just instructed by the Chinese Customs to have a photo with them.--with a report from Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News