Former Customs chief implicated in biggest illegal drug shipment re-appointed to Office of Civil Defense by Duterte

Nicanor Faeldon (Photo:

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte re-appointed former Bureau of Customs Chief Nicanor Faeldon as deputy administrator for the Office of Civil Defense.

Malacañang released Faeldon’s appointment letter last December 22.

Faeldon gave his resignation later three times before President Duterte accepted it. His resignation was triggered by the PHP 6.4 billion shabu shipment that slipped past Customs when he was still the Bureau’s chief.

“From the tone of his resignation, he’s very disappointed but I really believe he is an honest man,” President Duterte said upon accepting Faeldon’s resignation.

The President also hinted that his administration would need Faeldon.

In a report by The Philippine Star, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Isidro Lapeña assumed Faeldon’s post at Customs.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson accused Faeldon of receiving PHP 100 million in “pasalubong” or welcome gift from smugglers and unscrupulous businessmen.

Lacson said his accusation was confirmed by Lapeña,” according to the Philippine Star.

Moreover, PDEA filed a violation of importation of illegal drugs complaint against Faeldon and several other Customs officials over the multi-billion peso shabu case but the National Prosecution Service dismissed the raps against Faeldon.

According to state prosecutors, the complaints against Faeldon failed to “state with clarity the acts or omission supposedly committed by the above-named BOC respondents that would constitute violation of the offense charged.”

Assistant Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes, lead prosecutor, has argued that the case is currently pending review before the office of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

Reyes added that additional evidence might be submitted by the complainants.

“Sacred cow”
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a known Duterte critic, said the re-appointment of former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to an office at the Department of National Defense showed that Faeldon was a “sacred cow” because he knew the “dark secrets” of the President’s family.

In a report by GMA News, Sen. Trillanes in a statement on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, said this knowledge made President Duterte overlook the “gross incompetence” of former Customs chief Faeldon.

For his part, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that Faeldon’s re-appointment did not necessarily imply that the Senate’s lifting his contempt decision would eventually release him from detention.

Lacson said it was President Duterte’s prerogative to appoint individuals to key posts in his administration and the Senate could not interfere with his appointment.

But Lacson argued that the Senate could not also be forced to release Faeldon, who was detained by the Upper House following his resistance to answer questions about the multi-billion peso drug shipment that slipped past when he was still the Customs chief.

Lacson added that Faeldon might have to fulfill his new roles as deputy administrator for the Office of Civil Defense from his Senate detention cell.

“Faeldon has not been convicted of any crime yet, and certainly he is not barred from assuming an appointive or even an elective position,” Lacson said in a separate statement to GMA News.

“So, while he 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,” the Lacson added.

A chance for Faeldon to prove critics wrong
In a statement released by Malacañang last December 30, 2017, the reappointment of former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon to the Office of Civil Defense is an opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong.

In his radio interview with dzbb on Sunday, December 31, Presidential Communications Sec. Martin Andanar stressed that President Duterte has the prerogative to appoint people he thinks are effective in performing tasks.

“The most important…is the trust and confidence of our President,” Andanar said.

“If you have the trust and confidence of the President, then you can serve the country. So, this is a chance for Commissioner Nick Faeldon to prove his critics wrong,” Andanar added.