Despite the clamor of some lawmakers for Nicanor Faeldon to resign from his post after P6.4 billion worth of shabu entered the country via the Bureau of Customs’ express lane, President Rodrigo Duterte still threw his support behind the BOC chief.
Duterte in a speech before the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Malacañang cited the Customs shabu mess as an example of how serious the drug problem in the country has become.
"Ang sabi, ‘Hindi pala kaya ni Duterte.’ Hindi ko talaga kaya. Mismo ‘yung Customs ko, pumupuslit sa likod ko. Eh kaya mo ‘yan? Iyo na ‘yang Customs ha," he said.
“But Faeldon, I will stand by him. He’s really honest. Kaya lang nalusutan siya because lahat diyan sa Customs, corrupt. My God,” Duterte said on Wednesday in his speech in Malacañang during the celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.
“I hope I would not offend any particular person but almost all [are corrupt]. Sila ‘yong magagandang bahay…magaganda ang kotse [They are those who have beautiful houses and beautiful cars] ,” he added.
Earlier, House Dangerous Drugs Committee Chair Ace Barbers led the call for Faeldon to step down, saying that, “In other countries, these incidents would have all the officials resigning for delicadeza’s sake.”
“But hey, only [in] the Philippines as they say, our Customs officials are quick to pin the blame on another unqualified official under their command and hand-picked by them whose fault is that he wears a different uniform,” added Barbers.
But Faeldon, a former Marine officer, refused to quit.
“I am a soldier. I do not treat this position as a job; it is a mission. And a soldier does not quit from his mission but a soldier can be fired. So let the president fire me,” he said.
Later on, the BOC chief said he asked Duterte to fire him but the President rejected his request.
“I already requested the President to fire me. I don’t want to give the President a hard decision to make so I volunteered to him,” he said.
On Wednesday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez reiterated the call of his colleagues for Faeldon to step down so the BOC chief cpuld “spare the President further embarrassment.”
“Illegal drugs – hindi lang po ito gramo-gramo, hindi lang ito kilo-kilo. Tons po ang pinag-uusapan dito. ‘Yong corruption, malinaw na malinaw na sa committee hearing maycorruption. Malaki ‘yong corruption involved dito,” said Alvarez in an interview with ANC.
[It’s not just a few grams or a few kilos of illegal drugs. We are talking here of tons of drugs. It was very clear in the committee hearings that there was big corruption involved here.]
“So for those two main reasons, I think he (Faeldon) should spare the President further embarrassment,” he added.