Faeldon gets new post at Office of Civil Defense
Four months after his unceremonious exit in August as commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) over the P6.4-billion drug shipment controversy, Nicanor Faeldon is going back to government service.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Faeldon deputy administrator III at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), an agency under the Department of National Defense.
Faeldon’s appointment paper, dated Dec. 22, was issued even as he remains in detention at the Senate over his refusal to testify in an inquiry on the P6.4-billion “shabu” (crystal meth) shipment from China that slipped through the BOC, as well as the alleged payola system in the bureau.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said that unless the Senate lifted his contempt citation, Faeldon could only serve in his new job “via remote control” inside his detention room.
Faeldon has been detained since September on orders of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency filed criminal complaints against Faeldon and several other BOC officials for allowing the shabu shipment into the country, but the case was later dismissed by the Department of Justice for lack of evidence.
The controversy had also dragged the name of the President’s eldest son, resigned Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who was tagged as a member of the so-called Davao Group, which was supposedly involved in smuggling operations.
The blue ribbon committee, chaired by presidential ally Sen. Richard Gordon, subsequently cleared Duterte.
Faeldon seems to have earned the President’s trust. Before Mr. Duterte accepted his resignation at the BOC, he had said that he believed in Faeldon’s integrity and honesty.
At least two other resigned customs officials who were linked to the drug shipment have also been named to new government posts.
Gerardo Gambala and Milo Maestrecampo, also former mutineers, were earlier appointed to ranking positions in the Department of Transportation.
In a text message, Lacson said the Senate could not dictate on the President on who he wanted to appoint in office.
Despite facing charges that Lacson had filed against him, Faeldon has not been convicted of any crime and is not barred from assuming any appointive or elective position.
“Certainly the President has the authority to exercise his prerogative to appoint him. However, the Senate cannot also be dictated upon to release Faeldon from custody,” Lacson said.
“So while (Faeldon) can assume his new post at the OCD, he may have to function from the Senate detention facility via remote control, unless his contempt citation is lifted by the Senate acting as a collegial body,” he added.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was not surprised by Faeldon’s appointment.
“Faeldon knows the dark secrets of the Duterte family, that’s why even if he is grossly incompetent, he remains a sacred cow,” Trillanes said in a statement.
Sen. Win Gatchalian said he respected the decision of the President to appoint Faeldon but urged him to “understand that this person is absolutely ineffective in the BOC and was primarily responsible for the lack of system in deterring illegal drugs from coming through the ports of our own customs.”
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