Ex-BOC chief Faeldon asks DOJ to dismiss drug raps
Former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the criminal case filed against him in connection with the smuggling of P6.4-billion shabu shipment seized last May.
In a motion submitted to the DOJ, Faeldon said the Ombudsman, and not the DOJ, has jurisdiction to investigate him.
Citing the Sandiganbayan Law, Faeldon said for an official to be under its jurisdiction, the following requisites must exist: 1. the public officer or employee occupies the position corresponding to salary grade 27; and 2. the crime is committed by the public officer or employee in relation to his office.
Faeldon said he has a salary grade of 30.
“Indisputably therefore, Mr. Faeldon, being an SG-30, belongs to a class of public officers whose alleged offenses, if any, are within the primary and exclusive jurisdiction of the OMB, for the purpose of preliminary investigation, and the Sandiganbayan, in the event an information is filed by the OMB, for trial on the merits,” the motion added.
Faeldon and 11 other BOC officers are facing a complaint for conspiracy to import illegal drugs and protecting or coddling of drug traffickers under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act). The complaint was filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The PDEA also accused Faeldon and other BOC officers of obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829 by “harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape” of the persons behind the shabu shipment.
Faeldon and other respondents were also accused of negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.
The PDEA also filed a complaint for violation of the Anti-Graft Law for allegedly “causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The complaint named 11 other respondents in the charge sheet: BOC directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port district collector lawyer Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Faeldon‘s finance officer lawyer Jeline Maree Magsuci; and BOC employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor
In the same complaint, the PDEA also filed illegal drug importation charges under R.A. 9165 against importers and facilitators of the shabu shipment namely Chen Ju Long, Chen Rong Juan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba II, Teejay Marcellana, Eirene May Tatad, Emily Dee, Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun.
It also included in the charge sheet the directors and officers of Hong Fei Logistics Inc., the warehouse where the shabu shipment was seized, identified as Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual and Mary Rose Dela Cruz.
“We want the cases to be filed at the right forum because later on if the regional trial court will dismiss this complaint because of lack of jurisdiction, sayang lang ang effort,” Faeldon told reporters.
But Faeldon assured that they will continue cooperating with the DOJ investigation. /jpv
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