MANILA—Malacañang on Thursday said the new position given by President Rodrigo Duterte to former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon shows the chief executive’s continued trust and confidence in the former Marine captain.
Duterte appointed Faeldon as deputy administrator at the Office of Civil Defense following the latter’s resignation as Customs chief after being implicated in the alleged smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China into the port of Manila.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte decided to give Faeldon the “presumption of innocence.”
“Patuloy pa rin po ang tiwala sa kaniya ng presidente at alam ninyo naman po ang appointment iyan talaga ay executive in nature. So ibig sabihin pa lang niyan ay bagama’t may mga paratang laban kay dating commissioner Faeldon, hanggang hindi napapatunayan, ang presidente naman bilang abogado ay bibigyan siya ng presumption of innocence at binibigyan siya ng pagkakataon na manilbihan uli sa gobyerno,” Roque said in a radio interview.
Senators from the opposition Liberal Party criticized Faeldon’s appointment to the OCD, an agency under the Department of National Defense.
“While we respect the president’s prerogative to appoint personalities to positions he deems fit, he must avoid appointing those with questionable integrity and more so those linked to corruption scandals. The Filipino people need honest men in government service,” said Senator Francis Pangilinan, the party’s president.
Two former Customs officials who also faced a Senate investigation into the alleged drug shipment were also recently appointed to new positions.
Former Customs deputy commissioner Gerardo Gambala was appointed Director IV at the Office for Transportation Security, while former Customs import assessment service director Milo Maestrecampo was named Assistant Director General II at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Both Gambala and Maestrecampo have denied accepting bribes at the BOC.
As junior military officers in 2003, Faeldon, Gambala, and Maestrecampo were accused of leading an uprising against the president at the time, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.