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PDEA files drug raps vs Faeldon for P6.4-B shabu

Former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon faces a string of drug and criminal charges before the Department of Justice after P6.4 billion worth of shabu slipped through the Bureau of Customs from China last May. Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — Former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon faces a string of drug and criminal charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) after P6.4 billion worth of shabu slipped through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from China last May.

In a 23-page complaint filed yesterday, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) sought the indictment of Faeldon and 11 other BOC officers for conspiracy to import illegal drugs and for protecting or coddling drug traffickers – a violation under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

It also charged them with obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree 1829 for “harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape” of the persons behind the shabu shipment, and for negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.

The agency also accused them of violating Section 3 of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

Aside from Faeldon, the agency named in the charge sheet BOC directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port district collector Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Faeldon’s fiancée lawyer Jeline Maree Magsuci; BOC employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.

The anti-narcotics agency alleged in the complaint that the importation of illegal drugs would not have been possible if not for the “incompetence and corruption of the Bureau of Customs officials,” which “effectively shielded and facilitated the escape of Chen Ju Long and prevented his immediate arrest and prospective prosecution.”

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“As can be culled from the preceding discussion, the gross inexcusable negligence, manifest partiality or bad faith of Commissioner Faeldon, Dir. Maestrecampo, Dir. Estrella, Pinawin, Valiente, Atty. Maronilla, Ventura, Cabansag, Maniego, Cabildo, and Edillor made possible the importation of 602.279 kilograms of shabu and the evasion of Chen Ju Long from being arrested and prosecuted,” it further alleged.

In the same complaint, the PDEA filed illegal drug importation charges against Chen Ju Long, Chen Rong Juan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba II, Teejay Marcellana, Eirene May Tatad, Emily Dee, Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun,who were identified as importers or facilitators.

It also charged Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual and Mary Rose dela Cruz – directors and officers of Hong Fei Logistics Inc., the warehouse where the shabu shipment was seized.

PDEA’s complaint is separate from the complaint for drug smuggling filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against the importers and brokers of the shipment, which is undergoing preliminary investigation before the DOJ. 

Ethics complaint

Faeldon formally sought yesterday the suspension or expulsion of Sen. Panfilo Lacson for violating his constitutional rights and abuse of privilege in accusing him of involvement in corruption at the BOC.

Detained at the Senate after he was cited for contempt for refusing to attend public hearings, Faeldon called for Lacson’s expulsion in the 14-page ethics complaint he filed against the senator.

Lacson delivered a privilege speech last Aug. 23 detailing the corruption as well as smuggling activities at the BOC.

Faeldon has repeatedly denied the allegations and dared Lacson and other critics in the Senate and House of Representatives to file charges against him before the courts. 

“Senator Lacson, you are a liar. All your accusations against me are lies,” Faeldon said after filing his complaint at the office of the Senate committee on ethics.

“If you can prove this, but definitely you cannot prove it because they’re all lies,” he said, referring to Lacson’s allegations in his privilege speech.

The former BOC chief, wearing a white t-shirt printed with the words “Truth is Justice,” was temporarily released from his detention at the basement of the Senate building to allow him to personally file his complaint at the third floor with his lawyer.

In his complaint, Faeldon accused Lacson of making false and defamatory statements against him, abuse of rights and privileges and serious misconduct.

He cited cases in the history of Congress where lawmakers were reprimanded or suspended for unparliamentary conduct, like senators Jose Alejandrino, Jose Avelino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Heherson Alvarez, and Rep. Sergio Osmeña Jr.

“Indeed, for unparliamentary conduct, members of Congress have been, or could be, censured, reprimanded, suspended or even expelled by the votes of their colleagues,” he said.

He also attached to his complaint a letter of commendation from his former boss Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. –With Paolo Romero

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