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Son’s arrest in drug raid makes BuCor chief consider quitting

Faeldon: I’ll kill that idiot if raps prove true

Nicanor Faeldon Jr. (Photo from Police Regional Office - 5)

Nicanor Faeldon Jr. (Photo from Police Regional Office – 5)

Police still have to release the results of the drug test on Nicanor Faeldon Jr., who was arrested with five others in police raids conducted around 5 a.m. Friday in the villages of Mabolo, Concepcion Pequeña and San Felipe in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Faeldon Jr., 31, the eldest son of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon, was detained at the Naga City police headquarters pending the results of the drug test taken immediately after his arrest, said Christian Frivaldo, acting regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

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The younger Faeldon was in the house of girlfriend Sandra Mae Lanuzo in Mabolo when police, armed with a search warrant, swooped down on what they described as a “drug den” and arrested her father, Russel Lanuzo (not Bermudo as first reported).

The older Faeldon said he would quit as BuCor chief should authorities prove that his son and namesake was involved in illegal drugs.

“If my son (were) involved in any way, even if he’s just a drug user, I will resign immediately and hunt him down,” Faeldon said in a television interview on Friday.

Insisting on his innocence

“I will kill that idiot if he (were) indeed involved [in drugs],” he added.

Faeldon Jr., who was identified by his postal identification card, was studying business administration at Ateneo de Naga University, and was working as a student assistant in the school, police said.

He told police that he had been staying with the Lanuzos since he and his girlfriend started living together.

As the younger Faeldon continued to profess his innocence, police said they were checking if he had a history of drug use or links to the drug trade.

Faeldon’s son “has been on his own as an adult for years,” said the BuCor chief’s legal counsel and spokesperson Jose Diño Jr., adding that the prisons official last heard from his son about a month ago through text messages.

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“(The son) is already 31 years old and has been living separately (from his father). He grew up with his mother so it’s very rare for him and [the BuCor chief] to meet,” the lawyer said.

Diño quoted Faeldon as saying that his son had no known vices.

He added that when Faeldon saw pictures of his arrested son on social media, he noted that Nicanor Jr. “looked clean and healthy; in short, it’s not a portrait of a user, much more a pusher.”

“In any event, whatever the (result of the) police investigation, we will respect it,” Diño said.

The lawyer said Faeldon “will never call the police because it might be misinterpreted as intervention or worse, he could be accused of pressuring or influencing (the police).”

The Philippine National Police spokesperson, Chief Supt. Benjamin Durana, said no drugs were found in the younger Faeldon’s possession but that he would be charged for visiting a drug den.

Suspected pusher

Frivaldo said Lanuzo was a suspected big-time pusher and would face charges of violating Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.  Confiscated from Lanuzo were seven plastic sachets containing suspected “shabu” (crystal meth).

Arrested with Lanuzo were Richard Buenavente who, police said, yielded five grams of the illegal drug and a .22-caliber handgun; Alex Salcedo who was found with 15 grams of shabu; and two others whose identities were not disclosed.

The older Faeldon also offered to go on leave while his son’s case was being investigated, although Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra cautioned him on this plan, saying there should first be “reasonable ground to believe that his son (was) involved in drug use.”

Faeldon, the first of three Customs chiefs appointed by President Duterte, resigned in August last year after P6.4 billion worth of shabu was smuggled into the country through the Manila International Container Port. He was later appointed as deputy administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense, before being named BuCor chief in November to replace Ronald dela Rosa, a former PNP chief.

Palace: No whitewash

Malacañang said there would be “no whitewash” in the younger Faeldon’s case “in adherence (to) the administration’s firm resolve to curb illegal drugs in the country.”

“The Palace likewise commends Faeldon for taking a principled stand of distancing himself from the investigation, for letting police authorities do the job of probing said incident, and for offering to resign once the allegation is proven true,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.  —WITH REPORTS BY DEXTER CABALZA AND JULIE M. AURELIO

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