Senators slam DOJ for clearing Faeldon in P6.4-B shabu mess
MANILA, Philippines – Senators questioned the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision clearing former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon in the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu from China under his term.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel said he would ask Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, his partymate, for an explanation. He said the dismissal of cases against Faeldon and his subordinates are not believable.
“How could such a big shipment 600 plus kilos of shabu and in an organized way malusot sa Customs na walang involvement ang Customs? There must be somebody there from the inside who facilitated the release of the shipment,” Pimentel told reporters in an interview in Taguig on Thursday, November 23.
(How could such a big shipment of 600 plus kilos of shabu and in an organized way slip past Customs without the involvement of people from Customs? There must be somebody there from the inside who facilitated the release of the shipment.)
Senator Panfilo Lacson said he and other legislators are “shocked and angered” with the DOJ move.
“It is unimaginable if not impossible that the drug shipment would reach its destination in Valenzuela without the participation and complicity of the BOC personnel involved,” Lacson said.
He called on Aguirre to review the decision, saying Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act was clearly violated.
“Simple logic will tell us that at the very least those under whose watch the drug shipment passed through should be held criminally liable as well. RA 9165 is quite clear in this regard. I hope that an automatic review by the DOJ secretary can put some sense into a reasonable disposition of this instant case,” said Lacson, who earlier delivered a privilege speech accusing Faeldon of corruption.
Minority Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV denounced the decision and said Senate investigations clearly showed otherwise.
"Whether pinapasok iyan dahil kasangkot sila, o dahil sa corruption dahil nasilaw sila sa pera. Whatever the case, liable pa rin sila at kasama pa rin sila sa nagpasok ng droga sa bansa. Kakaiba ho iyan pero marami namang kakaiba sa DOJ ngayon," Aquino said in a radio interview.
(Whether the shipment was let in because they are complicit, or because they were bribed - whatever the case, they are still liable because they allowed drugs in to the country. It's mysterious, but there are a lot of mysterious things at the DOJ now.)
Early this year, the DOJ also downgraded murder charges against Superintendent Marvin Marcos and other police officers involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr inside jail in November 2016. This is contrary to the findings of the Senate public order committee, which found that there was deliberate plan to kill the late mayor.
Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes slammed the double standard of the administration.
Trillanes said poor drug suspects are easily killed while President Rodrigo Duterte's allies are allowed to go scot-free.
“Ang tanong ngayon, sino na ang responsable sa pagpasok ng P6.4 billion shabu, yung security guard ng Customs? Mr. Duterte, pinagloloko mo ung mga tao,” Trillanes said.
(The question now is, who is responsible for the entry of P6.4 billion shabu, the security guard of customs? Mr Duterte, you're fooling the people.)
Senator Francis Pangilinan shared the same view and said critics of the administration are persecuted while cases against allies are downgraded.
He also cited the case of the two former immigration commissioners, fraternity brothers of President Rodrigo Duterte and Aguirre. The DOJ, senators argued, initially planned to skirt plunder charges against the two by missing a P1,000-bill. But the Office of the Ombudsman did not buy it.
“Hindi na katakataka sa DOJ na ganito ang desisyon... Hindi tama na ang P6.4 billion [drug shipment] ay nakalusot. Hindi pwedeng walang pananagutan ang customs," Pangilinan said.
(This DOJ decision isn't surprising... It's not right that the P6.4 billion shipment got through. It's not right that the Customs won't be held liable.)
Faeldon is currently detained in the Senate for deliberately skipping the hearings. – Rappler.com