Faeldon: I never committed, tolerated corruption

MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon reiterated on Wednesday, August 23, that he never committed or tolerated "any form of corruption" while serving in government.

Faeldon made the statement after Senator Panfilo Lacson included him in a list of Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials who allegedly received "tara" or bribes. (READ: FULL TEXT: 'Kita kita sa Customs')

The outgoing Customs chief also refuted allegations that he received a P100-million "welcome gift" when he assumed office, contrary to what Lacson revealed in his privilege speech on Wednesday, on the extent of corruption in the BOC.

"I have not asked anybody to collect tara for me nor have I accepted any tara from anybody. Again, I have not done any form of corruption in my many years of government service nor tolerated those who tried even in the form of request. No is no," said the former Marine officer.

Faeldon called for a "third party investigation" into the exposé of Lacson so that the "truth" would come out.

"The country will appreciate if a third party investigation by a competent body will be conducted so that justice will be served. Just like the Honorable Senator Lacson and the Filipino people, I want the truth to come out," he said.

During his only appearance at the Senate hearing on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled from China on August 15, Faeldon explained that while he had heard of the "tara" system in the BOC prior to assuming office, he failed to fight it early on because he was "working alone" in the agency in his first 6 months.

Faeldon had said that key people he had recommended to investigate bribery in the BOC were only appointed in December 2016 or January 2017.

To this excuse, Lacson said in his privilege speech on Wednesday: "Boo-hoo! Tell that to the Marines, Mr Faeldon, but not to this institution."

"Mr President, even granting Mr Faeldon's assertion that he was working alone, if he was the principled man that he said he is, he should have stood firm even if he was alone," Lacson said.

During the interpellation after his speech, Lacson also said "it would be better" if Faeldon would not be given another government post.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier said he was open to giving Faeldon – whom he described as an "honest man" – another position in government. Duterte had said that Faeldon asked to be fired thrice because of his failure to stop corruption in the BOC, but the President did not agree he should be sacked during those times.

He finally accepted Faeldon's resignation on August 21, as the public expressed outrage over the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in a police drug raid in Caloocan City.

Protesters questioned why minors like Delos Santos are getting killed in Duterte's bloody drug war, while those involved in the shabu shipment from China as well as corrupt government officials are not punished. – Rappler.com