House panel seeks to indict Faeldon, Customs officials over shabu mess

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2017 07:07 PM

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon speaks during a hearing on the†drug shipment from China worth P6.4 billion at the House of Representatives. File photo

MANILA- The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs is set to recommend the filing of criminal charges against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other officials after some P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China slipped past the Port of Manila.

Committee chair Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said they are circulating among its members a draft report that seeks to, among others, hold accountable responsible officials.

"We will be recommending criminal and administrative cases to all BOC officials that are involved based on the testimonies and documents we have obtained in the conduct of our hearings," Barbers said during the the bi-weekly majority press conference on Tuesday.

Barbers claimed Faeldon could face life imprisonment and that the latter will also be held accountable for the alleged bungling of the raid of the billions worth of shabu shipment.

The lawmaker explained that the Bureau of Customs did not coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when it conducted the raid. Customs officials also failed to secure a search warrant, Barbers said.

Faeldon had earlier admitted that the pieces of evidence recovered during the raid were contaminated but explained that PDEA operatives were informed ahead of time of the raid.

Faeldon said "procedural errors" could have been prevented if PDEA operatives arrived earlier during the day of the raid.

Even private individuals such as Mark Taguba, Kenneth Dong, Manny Dy, Richard Tan and Tj Marcella, linked to the smuggling incident may also be charged.

The committee is also recommending the filing of graft and corruption charges against Faeldon along with his chief of staff Mandy Anderson.

"Just to give you a glimpse, merong criminal [charges] na we are recommending to be filed against Commisionner Faeldon for violation of the anti-graft [law] in appointing si Mandy Anderson to sign the DTRs (daily time record) of the players the athletes," Barbers said.

Faeldon had rejected criticism of his tapping athletes as agents, saying it was not against the law.

The former Customs chief previously argued that he discussed the hiring of athletes with the Commission on Audit and the agency "cannot see any prohibition in doing it. That's why we went ahead with the program."

The committee will endorse the case to the Committee on Good Government for a deeper investigation of the alleged corruption, Barbers said.

Faeldon recently hit back at Sen. Panfilo Lacson after the latter accused him of receiving a P100 million "welcome pasalubong" when he was appointed Customs head last year.

The former Marine turned tables and tagged the senator's son, Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr in alleged cement smuggling. The elder Lacson had denied Faeldon's claims.

Despite allegations of corruption hurled against Faeldon, President Rodrigo Duterte said he continues to trust the latter even after he left his post.