Duterte on Faeldon: I don’t think he’s corrupt

MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte believes that former Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief and now Office of Civil Defense (OCD) deputy administrator Nicanor Faeldon is not corrupt despite being tagged in the PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the BOC in May last year.

On Dec. 22, 2017, Duterte reappointed Faeldon to become OCD deputy administrator after the latter tendered his resignation as BOC chief.

Duterte said that he believed Faeldon was not corrupt because it was under his watch that the BOC seized PHP 3.2 billion worth of Mighty Corp. cigarettes with fake tax stamps in Bulacan.

The tobacco giant had to pay a PHP30-billion settlement with PHP 10 billion in taxes and penalties to settle its case.

MalacaAang earlier said that this amount would be used to fund the Duterte administration's Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

You know this Faeldon, I do not think that he is really corrupt. You know why? He was responsible for government earning PHP40 billion in one sweep, Duterte said in a speech during the 2018 National Information and Communications Technology (NICT) Summit in Davao City on Friday.

The owner of Mighty King was really falsifying 'yung (the) fake cigarette stamps. And this has been going on for since time immemorial, he added.

Duterte was perhaps referring to founder of Mighty Corporation, Chinese immigrant Wong Chu King.

Duterte pointed out that if Faeldon was really corrupt, he would not bother to tell him about the fake tax stamps.

If this guy is corrupt, eh bakit pa niya ako sinabihan (why would he tell me about it)? Hindi na lang siya (He could have) just went ahead and do it on his own. And he could have earned more --- more money that his third generation children can ever, ever spend, Duterte said.

Duterte, however, acknowledged that corruption was still present under his administration.

So let me just talk about corruption, it's still there. It's alive, Duterte said.

The President has repeatedly said that he will not tolerate even a whiff of corruption and warned that he would be dismissing more officials in the coming days.

There will be more dismissals to come, Duterte earlier said, stressing that he did not care if his whole term would be characterized by the firing and dismissal of people from government.

Faeldon has maintained that he did nothing wrong."

The Ombudsman's Special Panel of Fact-Finding Investigators have recommended the filing of criminal charges for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) against Faeldon, Import Assessment Service (IAS) Director Milo Maestrecampo, Risk Management Office (RMO) Chief Larribert Hilario and Accounts Management Office (AMO) Chief Mary Grace Tecson-Malabed.

The panel also recommended the filing of administrative charges for Grave Misconduct against Faeldon and BOC officials Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente, as well as Gross Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct against Tecson-Malabed and Maestrecampo.

Moreover, it recommended the filing of additional charges of Usurpation of Official Functions (Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code), violation of Section 32 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165) against Faeldon, and violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019 against Faeldon and BOC Director Neil Anthony Estrella. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency