MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he continues to trust former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon even in the wake of corruption allegations Sen. Panfilo Lacson had made against the former Marine.
“I still believe that Faeldon is honest. I have known the guy,” Duterte said in a speech in Marawi City on Thursday, a transcript of which was released on Friday.
He said Faeldon was among those who urged him to run for President in the 2016 elections.
The President stressed his continued support for the embattled former Customs chief after Lacson accused Faeldon of involvement in illicit activities at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), considered the most corrupt agency in the entire bureaucracy.
In a privilege speech on Wednesday, Lacson said Faeldon received a P100 million "welcome pasalubong" when he was appointed BOC head last year.
The senator also detailed how the “tara" or grease money system works in the BOC and identified major players, including Faeldon, citing sources who surfaced after the bust of the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled through the Port of Manila in May.
Faeldon denied Lacson’s allegations and on Thursday turned the tables on the senator, accusing the latter’s son, Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr., of involvement in cement smuggling.
Malacañang said the President would support any investigation into Lacson’s claim.
With Faeldon's resignation, Duterte appointed Isidro Lapeña, currently chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, to lead the BOC.