Senators ‘shocked’, ‘angered’ over ‘peculiar’ DOJ decision clearing Faeldon, et al.
Several senators were shocked and dismayed on Thursday over the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to absolve former Bureau of Customs (BOC) head Nicanor Faeldon as well as other agency officials from their drug charges, which stemmed from the controversial smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.
“Many among us who participated and witnessed the Senate and the lower house hearings on the smuggled Php 6.4B shabu shipment that passed through our country’s customs house under the noses of those tasked to check on smuggling are shocked and angered by the dismissal of the case against all the BOC personnel,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson said it was “unimaginable, if not impossible” that the drug shipment would reach its destination in Valenzuela City from China, without the participation and complicity of the BOC personnel involved.
“Simple logic will tell us that at the very least those under whose watch the drug shipment passed through should be held criminally liable as well,” he added.
On Wednesday, the DOJ released its decision clearing Faeldon and other BOC officials from the drug charges that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) filed against them.
Senator Bam Aquino shared the same sentiments as he lamented the seemingly “peculiar” decision of the DOJ.
“Kakaiba iyan. Sa aming pagdinig sa Senado, kitang-kita na hindi mangyayari ang pagpasok ng droga sa bansa kung walang kasabwat sa loob ng BOC. It takes two to tango,” Aquino said.
Senator Francis Pangilinan likewise condemned the DOJ resolution and claimed of an “apparent pattern” where the DOJ exonerates the allies of the present administration.
“May pattern dito. Pagka kakampi pinapalusot. Similar sa Albuera mayor killing sinabi ng senado murder pero pagdating sa DOJ downgraded,” Pangilinan said.
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the dismissal of the case against the BOC officials was not the complete story.
Gordon’s committee was the one who recommended the filing of criminal cases against the Customs officials.
“Faeldon and (Gerardo) Gambala may have been absolved in the importation of dangerous drugs; however, (Milo) Maestrecampo must be further investigated,” he said.
“Based on the hearings conducted by the Senate, the evidence shows that Maestrecampo provided aid in allowing the shipment of drugs enter in the country’s front doors smoothly through the green lane,” he added.
Gordon also pointed out that his committee is still investigating the tara system in the BOC, and they are poised to bring the panel’s final report to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Thus, Customs officials may still be held liable on the tara by committing bribery and other laws under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” he said.
According to Gordon, 12 senators have already signed the blue ribbon committee report on the illegal shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu. Aside from him, among those who already signed the report were Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Honasan, Manuel Pacquiao, Loren Legarda, Miguel Zubiri, Cynthia Villar, Ralph Recto, and Francis Escudero.
Gordon said Minority Leader Franklin Drilon abstained from signing, saying he “will concur or dissent when the report is submitted to a vote after debates and amendments.”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.