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Duterte waiting for results of Congress probe on smuggled shabu, says Sotto

Members of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Drug Interdiction Task group inspect the bag of 50-year-old Bolivian Maria Hinojosa Bazan at the NAIA Terminal 1 on Monday. Her luggage contained high-grade cocaine, which was neatly concealed inside the lining of her winter jacket. Law enforcers staked out at the airport for days after receiving information from its foreign counterpart regarding the possible smuggling activity.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 2 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to trust Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon pending the result of the congressional investigation on the P6.4 billion worth of shabu that was smuggled into the country from China, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said Wednesday.

Sotto was among the senators who had a meeting with Duterte in Malacañang on late Tuesday afternoon where issues hounding the Bureau of Customs (BOC) were briefly discussed.

“Pahapyaw lang naman ‘yung tungkol sa BOC,” Sotto said.

“Mas marami ‘yung agenda na pinag-usapan, pero nung mahapyawan yun, sabi ng Presidente, matapos niyang marinig ‘yung mga kwento nung mga taga-Congress at Senado, sabi niya ‘I’ll wait for the results of your investigation before I act’.”

Before the meeting with the senators, Duterte met with Faeldon in Malacañang. The embattled BOC leader was called to the Palace amid calls by some lawmakers for his resignation amid the shabu smuggling issue.

Sotto said Duterte, who has fired Cabinet officials accused of corruption before, wants to consider other facts of the smuggling issue from other sources aside from Faeldon.

“Kasi madali ‘yung kwento. Palagay mo ‘pag sinabi ng Presidente sa ‘yo, ‘You tell me the truth, what happened,’ puwede mo naman talagang sabihin ‘yung truth pero kulang. Hindi ka nagsisinungaling pero hindi mo sasabihin lahat,” he said.

“So siyempre hindi kumpleto ang impormasyon ng Presidente. Presidente ‘yan eh. Hindi maaaring hindi makarating ang impormasyon ng Kongreso,” Sotto added.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in a statement Tuesday, said Duterte still has confidence on Faeldon, a former military official.

Aside from Sotto, other senators who were in the meeting with Duterte were Sonny  Angara, Francis Escudero, Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas were also present, according to Sotto. (MNS)

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