Gordon panel wants charges vs Faeldon, 4 others over P6.4-B smuggled shabu

Camille Elemia
Gordon panel wants charges vs Faeldon, 4 others over P6.4-B smuggled shabu
The Senate blue ribbon committee wants former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon charged with violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate blue ribbon committee is set to recommend the filing of criminal charges against former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and 5 others over the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of shabu from China.

In a 52-page draft report obtained by Rappler on Tueday, October 10, Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon said Faeldon is responsible for “misfeasance and non-feasance in the performance of his functions.”

Gordon said Faeldon violated Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 

The panel blamed Faeldon for creating the BOC Command Center (ComCen), which made the entry of drugs and other illegal goods easier instead of preventing it. The ComCen has since been “deactivated” according to former BOC Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala.

“[It] allowed unscrupulous persons to take advantage of the centralization of the alert system to bypass the checks of district collectors and field offices and thus abuse the green lane facility,” the report said.

It was earlier revealed that the 604 kilos of smuggled shabu entered the country in May through the green lane, which allows the smooth entry of shipments without inspection.

The report also said that Faeldon has no power to create the ComCen, which supposedly served as an “echo chamber” filled with like-minded people such as fellow graduates of the Philippine Military Academy and members from the Magdalo group.

Faeldon was part of the Magdalo-led mutiny against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003.

“He created an echo chamber, where they listened only to themselves. Sadly, for the country, we found that such an arrangement only led to gross incompetence, resulted in ‘corrupt-tible’ officers, managers. One hard lesson learned: do not put one barkada into one place, performing the same assignment,” the draft report said.

The committee also said Gambala, former intelligence director Neil Anthony Estrella, and former Customs Import Assessment Service director Milo Maestrecampo violated both RA 10863 and RA 3019.

Intelligence officer Joel Pinawin is recommended to be charged with violation of RA 10863.

Faeldon is currently detained at the Senate for refusing to attend hearings on BOC corruption.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, in a privilege speech, accused BOC officials led by Faeldon of receiving bribe money. He also filed graft and economic sabotage charges against the former BOC official before the Ombudsman.

Faeldon and other officials implicated in the tara system denied the accusation.

In the same partial report, Gordon pinned the blame on Customs broker and “fixer” Mark Ruben Taguba for being the “central figure” in the BOC corruption scheme.

He also cleared presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio from smuggling charges. The administration ally instead recommended that the National Bureau of Investigation conduct a lifestyle check on the two. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com