HOUSE Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas on Saturday accused an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of diverting the public’s attention from rampant “shabu” smuggling in the agency.
“Who could have leaked her private post if not she herself and her cohorts in order to divert the public from the House investigation of the successful smuggling of more than P5 billion pesos worth of shabu through the BOC Express Lane?” Fariñas said in a statement on Saturday.
Fariñas was referring to Mandy Anderson, chief of staff of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon who, in a Facebook post, called House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez an “imbecile” for proposing to abolish the Court of Appeals.
She said she was wrong to have posted it. Faeldon said he would not remove Anderson from her post While Anderson has admitted her mistake, Fariñas said that “In the evening of the same day, [Anderson] was on mainstream broadcast media giving [an interview on]her alleged tiff with Alvarez, even claiming that the Speaker vowed to raise hell for them, to divert the issue of the shabu smuggling.”
“Hindsight is the best sight – isn’t dragging of the name of the Speaker by [Anderson] a clear attempt to divert the issue on the BOC’s ineptitude, given all the former military officials in its leadership?” he said.
Anderson claimed that her dispute with Alvarez stemmed from Customs’ rejection of the promotion of an unqualified employee whom he allegedly backed.
Fariñas pointed out that several lawmakers received a copy of Anderson’s Facebook post a day before the House committee hearing.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles and other members forwarded a copy of the post to Fariñas during the hearing, which prompted him and Nograles to confront Anderson.
In a statement, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said that “[t]he real issue here is that illegal drugs worth an estimated P6.4 billion have passed through the express lane” of the BOC.
“The House hearing was meant to find out the answer to the troubling question: How can billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs breeze through undetected in the express lane of the BOC?” he added.
Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs, said lawmakers intended to pursue the matter further in their committee hearing on Tuesday.