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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Koko doubts Faeldon’s ethics case

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ALTHOUGH Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon is free to file today as he has promised an ethics complaint against two senators, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III questioned if the basis for the filing was “out of ordinary.”

“Have we not had hearings when names were exposed, and there were witnesses…. and you [Faeldon] said you will hold them liable?” Pimentel asked. 

Pimentel was referring to the blue ribbon committee hearings on the P6.4- billion shabu smuggled into the country that  slipped past the Bureau of Customs under Faeldon’s watch.

Faeldon’s name was also mentioned  in the list of  those who received  bribes under the “tara” system to facilitate the release of shipments through the “green lane.”

The first time Faeldon attended the Senate hearing on the drug smuggling, which was also his  last,   he  made a commitment  to take full responsibility  for  the shabu  shipment and  punish those liable.  Faeldon also refused to appear and answer questions from the senators, for which he was cited in contempt and detained at the Senate. 

Pimentel noted that the basis for the ethics complaint Faeldon intended  to file against Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV remains  “unclear.”

“Anybody can file an ethics complaint but nobody can say that’s it or it would reach the first base or second base or if it will progress. This is a free country. There’s democracy if one wants to file a complaint. It will be received but there’s no assurance that it will progress.” 

Pimentel emphasized that the problem with Faeldon  is that he wants to file an ethics complaint  but there were really  irregularities   in the Customs.

“There was 604 kilos of shabu worth 6. 4 billion pesos  and in the hearing, it was established this happened because of the green lane. There was also ‘tara’ [bribery] system . His name also came out, it was mentioned by a senator. That’s the problem of Faeldon,” explained Pimentel. 

Lacson for his part  said Faeldon has right to waste bond paper and ink following his threats of filing an ethics complaint against him and Trillanes  for implicating him in the massive corruption at the BoC.

“Anyway, he has the money to pay his lawyers even if it’s tantamount to an exercise in futility and stupidity,” Lacson said.

“In fact, that was the advice to him by Senator Gordon when he visited him in his detention place,” said Lacson.

He also cited Article VI of the Constitution on the matter which provides that: Section 11- “A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.”

Trillanes  said Faeldon  is a man who seems to not run out of gimmicks. 

“But at the end of the day, he needs to face the Senate’s Blue Ribbon committee and answer our questions,”  Trillanes said.

In a privilege speech, Lacson accused Faeldon and other Customs officials of receiving “tara” or bribes.  He  said Faeldon got  P100 million in  “welcome gift” when he assumed his post at the BoC.

Faeldon struck back by implicating Lacson’s son Panfilo Jr. in alleged cement smuggling at the BoC.

Trillanes said  Faeldon, a former colleague at the Magdalo group of renegade military officers,    is  at the heart of the smuggling of shabu from China. 

Faeldon was the commissioner when the 605 kilos of shabu shipment from Xiamen, China,  passed  through the Customs green later. 

Faeldon’s counsel Jose Diño Jr. said the former Customs chief  will personally file the complaint against Lacson before the Senate ethics committee on Monday

“Capt. Faeldon will request for permission from the OSAA [Office of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms] to be allowed to personally file, under guard of course, his verified ethics complaint on Monday, 18 September 2017 at 11 a.m.,” Diño said.

Diño added that Faeldon will also file a separate complaint against Trillanes the week after next.  


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