MANILA, Aug. 1 (PNA) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday expressed confidence in Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon during their meeting in Malacañang even as lawmakers are asking for the latter’s resignation over the PHP 6.4 billion shabu shipment that passed through the BOC under his watch.
“The Chief Executive has expressed his full confidence in Commissioner Faeldon and told him to focus on serving the country,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.
Faeldon has been under fire because of the smuggling try.
The controversy started when 604 kilograms of shabu was discovered by a combined team of BOC, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents during a raid at two warehouses in Valenzuela City on May 26, 2017.
The shipment was earlier cleared through the BOC’s automated screening process.
According to Faeldon, the twin raids were launched following an intelligence report provided by Zhang Xiaohui, director of International Enforcement Cooperation Division of Anti-Smuggling Bureau, General Administration of China Customs.
However, BOC officials have been grilled in congressional hearings on how the huge amount of drugs got through customs examiners.
On Monday, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee started an investigation of the incident and is looking into possible “malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance of the officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs.”
Earlier Tuesday, the House of Representatives conducted its own congressional probe into the matter with Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers calling on Faeldon to resign because of the smuggling incident.
Faeldon has repeatedly said that he is taking full responsibility.
At the same time, the embattled official denounced accusations he had ties to the owner of the warehouse where the shabu was recovered.
A July 30 photo which circulated on social media showed Faeldon with Richard Chen, owner of the Hongfei Logistics warehouse in Valenzuela where the illegal drugs were found.
In a statement, Faeldon denounced the attempt to link him in the apprehended shabu as “outrageous.”
“The photos themselves will prove that I only met Mr. Chen on the day of the raid itself,” he said in the statement.
Faeldon said he “reluctantly agreed” to have a photo with Chen out of courtesy to the latter’s request.
“The people behind this malicious attack only proved that I had crossed big names in the illegal drugs trade. However, this will not slow down our fight against drugs,” Faeldon said. (PNA)