Faeldon plea to junk drug raps rejected
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has junked former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon’s plea to dismiss the string of criminal complaints filed against him by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in relation to the P6.4-billion drug smuggling scandal that sneaked past the Customs systems during his term.
In a resolution dated Oct. 12 and released on Thursday, the DOJ investigating panel composed of assistant state prosecutors Aristotle Reyes and Rodan Parrocha tossed out Faeldon’s plea to dismiss the complaint, citing jurisdiction issue.
However, the DOJ declared that the department has jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation of the drug offenses involving a public officer with a salary grade above 27.
Faeldon had argued that his case should be filed in the Office of the Ombudsman and not the DOJ because he is receiving a salary grade of 30 as Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief.
“Likewise, certain provisions of R.A. No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) indicate that the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction regardless of position of the offender public officer,” the resolution stated.
The resolution said Section 27 of the law mentions that “public officer or employee” does not make distinction of the salary grade, while Section 28 imposes maximum penalty to those government officials and employees found guilty.
“Again, it does not mention that cases against these government officials shall be filed before the Sandiganbayan, but instead, imposes the maximum penalty for the unlawful acts committed,” it noted.
The decision said that the agency’s basis for junking Faeldon’s appeal was the DOJ resolution on the case of Sen. Leila de Lima issued on Feb. 12, a position that was upheld by the Supreme Court’s decision on the detained senator’s illegal drug trading case.
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