House committee recommends dismissal of Customs chief

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A COMMITTEE at the House of Representatives that investigated the illegal entry of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) has recommended the dismissal of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon for alleged “gross incompetence and corruption”.

“When he assumed office, he centralized all powers by creating a command center.  He did not even ask permission from the Secretary of Finance.  He did not issue a department order creating it. He is simply managing it by himself.  These actions are signs of incompetence,” Rep. Robert Barbers, chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, told a forum in Manila on Monday.

Barbers said the committee would present its report containing the recommendation to Duterte next week.

Asked if the committee would recommend a replacement to Faeldon, the congressman from the second district of Surigao del Norte, said he would consider including a possible replacement.


“Walang bilib kami dyan (We don’t admire that man),” Barbers said of Faeldon.

Faeldon assumed the top post of the Bureau of Customs on June 30, 2016, replacing Alberto Lina.  He was one of the early appointees under the Duterte administration.  He was a former Marine officer who became controversial for his participation in 2003 Oakwood mutiny, along with then Navy First Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes 4th, which sought to oust former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for allegedly allowing corruption in the military. Trillanes has since been elected to the Senate while Arroyo is now congresswoman of Pampanga.

Faeldon’s competence was questioned after a P6.4 billion shabu shipment passed through a BOC “priority lane” without inspection.  If not for a tip from China, the contraband could have been sold on the streets.

“It is a big embarrassment to President Duterte who ordered the raid of illegal drugs laboratories all over the country.  This time, they are allowing the entry of illegal drugs through Customs,” Barbers said.

Barbers said his committee has finished its hearing and was now readying the final draft.

“The Committee on Ways and Means is still conducting a hearing.  Maybe the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability will also hold the hearing to investigate graft and corruption at the Customs bureau,” he said.

 

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