The Senate inquiry regarding the smuggling of PHP 6.4 billion worth of shabu in China last Tuesday was a series of revelations that point to only one conclusion- Corruption still exists at the Bureau of Customs(BOC). Tara system as explained by Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon is the system being used by people who need to transact with the BOC to ensure that their imported goods would never encounter a problem prior to its release.
“There are certain amounts allotted to the different offices and officials of the bureau in exchange for uninterrupted facilitation of their trade,” Faeldon told the Senate panel.
An interesting article was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer re the Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon , titled “ Mediocre Marine officer, mediocre customs chief” written by Mr. Ramon Tulfo.
|Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon admitted to the Senate that corruption still exist in the BOC, and he declared that he cannot fight corruption in his agency alone. (photo credit to Philstar)|
The full article is quoted below:
Despite being asked by legislators to resign, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon will stay put.
That’s President Digong’s decision and it’s his prerogative to choose who works under him even if they’re deemed crooks.
The President has his reasons for keeping Faeldon, chief of which is that he can’t be dictated upon.
If I know Digong, he will act when he sees fit and not when others pressure him.
This President doesn’t want his actions preempted.
Faeldon should go because he’s indefensible.
He’s very incompetent and is easily swayed by his former comrades in the military whom he has hired as his assistants.
If he’s not corrupt like his subordinates then he’s clueless; in Tagalog, tanga.
The President can’t afford to have such a person in charge of the Bureau of Customs.
If he’s not tanga, how come P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” got past the bureau’s agents and ended up at a warehouse in Valenzuela City?
And the illegal drug shipment, the biggest so far, came from China.
Faeldon was informed beforehand by Chinese authorities that a huge drug shipment would be entering the country but he apparently ignored the warning.
The shipment even went through the customs bureau’s express or priority lane.
I’ve asked around about Faeldon’s background as an officer of the Philippine Marine Corps.
He was not an outstanding officer and was even considered second rate by fellow officers who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy.
His career path in the Marines was not outstanding either: he was pulled out of combat and reassigned to headquarters, unusual for a young officer.
A Marine officer told me that the Marine Corps wants to maintain the reputation of its members who remain cool while under fire.
Any young Marine officer who gets cold feet while in combat, he said, is reassigned to headquarters so he doesn’t affect the fighting spirit of his men.
Faeldon, who was a captain at the time, was probably plucked out of the combat zone and reassigned to the Marine headquarters because he developed the willies, the Marine officer added.
His desk job at the Marine headquarters, a boring assignment for an officer exposed to combat, gave him the chance to meet with fellow officers from other branches who were disgruntled with their new assignments but for a different reason: these officers didn’t like the corruption around them.
And so a plan to rebel against authority bloomed into the infamous Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003.
While his fellow mutineers suffered the consequence of their misadventure by going to the brig or jail, Faeldon went into hiding and only came out when they were granted pardon.
To make up for not joining his fellow mutineers in jail, Faeldon got them into the customs bureau when he was appointed its chief.
And so the mediocre military officer that was Faeldon has become the mediocre customs chief.