By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte declared he continues to trust Bureau of Customs (BoC) chief Isidro Lapeña and his predecessor Nicanor Faeldon, insisting they are not corrupt.
The President has vouched for the integrity of Lapeña and Faeldon during the public destruction of dozens of smuggled cars and motorcycles in Port Irene, Cagayan Monday.
“Do not believe that General Lapeña here, the Customs commissioner, is corrupt. He is not. He was for the longest time my chief of police in Davao City,” Duterte said in his remarks.
On Faeldon, Duterte said he trusts the former customs chief after uncovering the tax fraud of tobacco firm Mighty Corp. and adding P40 billion to the nation’s coffers.
“Even Faeldon, you know why I trust him? We got so money when we raided Mighty cigarettes. Did you — how much we earned from there? 40 billion. Siya lang ang nag-tip sa akin [He gave me the tip],” he said.
“He was the sole singular guy in government na nagbulong sa akin na there is smuggling, so much smuggling that if we can destroy it we will have the money. And I would not believe that he would exchange that for a few mil — 6 million, and it included my son. Susmaryosep,” he added.
Faeldon resigned as customs chief in August 2017 amid the controversial shabu shipment that slipped past the Customs Bureau. He was replaced by Lapeña, former head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Faeldon was eventually appointed deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.