Shame on you, Faeldon slams corrupt solons
A day after he was assured of President Rodrigo Duterte’s continued trust in him, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Wednesday lashed out at lawmakers and other government officials for contributing to the culture of corruption in the bureau.
Faeldon said the officials were trying to influence the appointment and assignment of the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) employees.
“They want me to influence the promotion board so that their people here would be promoted. And I tell them right in their face I will never lift a finger to influence promotions here. That is a form of corruption,” he said in a press briefing.
Faeldon said most of the politicians had importation or forwarding companies.
“Their people are here to protect the interests of their bosses,” he said.
Hours after his rant against lawmakers, Faeldon apologized to them.
“I categorically apologize to those who have done nothing to the bureau. There are very few who have [tried to] influence the bureau,” Faeldon said during the House of Representatives ways and means committee’s investigation late Wednesday afternoon.
He said “less than 10” lawmakers had made unreasonable requests and tried to pressure the BOC into promoting certain employees. He refused to name the lawmakers, though.
The committee chair, Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, said Faeldon’s statements put everybody in the House in a bad light.
“If you are really serious about it, file a case so you do not damage the institution,” Cua told Faeldon.
In his press briefing, the BOC chief appealed to government officials to stop their unreasonable requests.
Form of corruption
“You know your request is a form of corruption and you insist and you will even get mad. My God! Shame on you! Stop it. Stop it because it doesn’t do anything good to this country … This is a very corrupt bureau and you are making it more corrupt. Please stop it,” he said.
“If that is the old way of doing it here, I’m appealing to you, stop it, though you may get angry with me. Try your best to boot me out of here every day. But as long as I’m here, I will continue to say ‘no,’” he added.
Faeldon said he did not identify the politicians when he met on Tuesday afternoon with President Duterte, who decided to keep him at the BOC despite calls from lawmakers for him to resign.
Apart from promotions, the customs chief said there were also those requesting that some employees be reassigned to specific offices of the BOC.
“I’m the one being blamed for the lousiness here but they are the ones trying to bring in people here who are lousy,” he said.
Earlier, Faeldon’s chief of staff, lawyer Mandy Anderson, made the headlines after she called Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez an “imbecile” for supposedly pushing for the promotion of an employee who, she said, was “unqualified.”
Alvarez said on Wednesday he did not personally know Sandy Sacluti, a customs officer whose promotion he had strongly endorsed to the BOC, but maintained that he believed the person was “overqualified” for the job.
Anderson said she had looked at Sacluti’s qualifications and rejected him after finding him unqualified for promotion.
She claimed Alvarez later called her to his office and scolded her, and gave his staff marching orders to “bring hell to me and the commissioner.” Alvarez has denied this.
In a television interview, Alvarez said the employee had approached him in his office, seeking his help to get promoted from acting Customs Operations Officer V at the formal entry division of the Port of Manila to the same post in a regular capacity.
“I don’t know that person, and he asked me for a recommendation to be promoted. Now, I looked at his qualifications, how many years he’s been working there, his educational background and his performance. Everything looked OK. So I recommended him,” he said.
Faeldon said he wanted to quit amid the issues in the bureau but insisted that he was on a mission to serve the country.
“The only qualification I have is that I say ‘no’ to anyone who wants to influence me. I will continue to say ‘no.’ I am here to serve our country,” Faeldon said.
“If tomorrow they will succeed in booting me out here, that’s going to be the happiest day of my life. Who wants this job? Come on, this is not the job for me,” he added.
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