SOME senators were dismayed over the dismissal by the Department of Justice (DoJ) of drug chargesagainst former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon.
“Many among us who participated and witnessed the Senate and the lower house hearings on the smuggled P6.4billion shabu shipment that passed through our country’s customs house under the noses of those tasked to check on smuggling are shocked and angered by the dismissal of the case against all the BoC personnel,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
He added that it was unimaginable, if not impossible, that the drug shipment would reach its destination in Valenzuela City without the participation and complicity of the BoC personnel involved.
“Simple logic will tell us that at the very least those under whose watch the drug shipment passed through should be held criminally liable as well,” he said hoping that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre will conduct an automatic review of the case.
On the other hand, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV chided President Rodrigo Duterte after Faeldon and other BoC officials were absolved of the charges.
“Kapag mga mahihirap, patay agad. Pero kapag alagad ni Duterte, abswelto sa kaso,” Trillanes said in a statement.
“Gaya lang yan ni Supt. Marcos. Ang tanong ngayon, sino na ang responsable sa pagpasok ng P6.4 billion shabu, yung security guard ng Customs?” Trillanes added.
Trillanes was referring to Supt. Marvin Marcos, who was linked to the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., of Albuera, Leyte.
The DoJ ruled to downgrade the charges against Marcos from murder to homicide, which is bailable.
“Mr. Duterte, pinagloloko mo ung mga tao,” Trillanes said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the dismissal of the case against the BoC officials was not the complete story.
Gordon’s committee was the one who recommended the filing of criminal cases against the Customs officials.
“Faeldon and (Gerardo) Gambala may have been absolved in the importation of dangerous drugs; however, (Milo) Maestrecampo must be further investigated,” he said.
“Based on the hearings conducted by the Senate, the evidence shows that Maestrecampo provided aid in allowing the shipment of drugs to enter in the country’s front doors smoothly through the green lane,” added Gordon.
He however pointed out that his committee is still investigating the tara system in the BoC, and they are poised to bring the panel’s final report to the Office of the Ombudsman
Aside from Faeldon, the DoJ also cleared Director Milo Maestrecampo, Director Neil Estrella, Intelligence Officer Joel Pinawin, Intelligence Officer Oliver Valiente, Atty. Jeleena Magsuci, Atty. Philip Maronilla, Alexandra Ventura, Randolph O. Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo, and John Edillor.
The DOJ cleared them after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) failed to present additional evidence to support the allegation that they violated the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.