MANILA - Outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Wednesday turned over his position to the bureau's newly appointed chief, Isidro Lapeña, but not before urging Customs employees and importers to stop illicit activities.
In his speech, Faeldon lamented how importers failed to tell on Customs employees who are accepting 'tara' (grease money) or are engaged in undervaluation. He noted the bureau cannot prosecute Customs men accused of corruption based on just text messages.
"It is so unfortunate that among you 12,000 importers, not a single one has the courage to come forward and let me know who among our employees are [on the] take," he said.
"For us to be able to prosecute, you have to come forward -
courageous enough to stand by your statement and let us file cases against them...Until you do so, everyone who wants to destroy the name of this bureau can continue to destroy it successfully because wala tayong nahuhuli."
He cited as an example a senior intelligence official who had failed to catch even one Customs employee involved in corruption despite allegedly staying in the bureau for 42 years.
Faeldon also criticized government officials who are using the bureau as a whipping boy just to make themselves look good.
He noted that even before he took over the Customs post, he was already receiving text messages from various people.
"Before my assumption on July 1, 2016, medyo na-confuse na ako to determine which is right and wrong in those text [messages]. Sana po hindi niyo ito nararanasan ngayon," he told Lapeña.
Faeldon has been at the center of the controversy surrounding the Bureau of Customs after he failed to stop the shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.
Despite the allegations against him he believes he has done nothing wrong and that he has given his best in his over one year as Customs chief.
"Today, I can look all of you in the eye and say I have done my best given the situation," he said during the turnover ceremony.
Faeldon also welcomed Lapeña, describing the former chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as a better commissioner than him.
"Commissioner Lapeña is a better commissioner than me. He's a better person than me. He is a better person than me in all aspects of public service," he said.