Faeldon, 11 others face raps over P6.4-B shabu shipment

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) filed a criminal complaint on Monday before Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and 11 other officials in connection with the PHP6.4 billion shabu shipment seized in two warehouses in Valenzuela City last May 26.Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

In a 23-page complaint, PDEA filed a case of conspiracy to import illegal drugs and protecting or coddling of drug traffickers under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act), negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Cod, obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829 by “harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape” of the persons behind the shabu shipment against Faeldon, BOC directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port district collector lawyer Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Faeldon’s fiancée, lawyer Jeline Maree Magsuci; and BOC employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.

The anti-narcotics agency alleged that the importation of the illegal drug shipment would have not been possible if not for the “incompetence and corruption of the Bureau of Customs officials.”

“The said incompetence and corruption effectively shielded and facilitated the escape of Chen Ju Long and prevented his immediate arrest and prospective prosecution for the importation of the 602.279 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu,” read the complaint.

“As can be culled from the proceeding discussion, the gross inexcusable negligence, manifest partiality, or bad faith of Commissioner Faeldon, Dir. Maestrecampo, Dir. Estrella, Pinawin, Valiente, Atty. Maronilla, Ventura, Cabansag, Maniego, Cabildo, and Editor made possible the importation of 602.279 kilograms of shabu and the evasion of Chen Ju Long from being arrested and prosecuted,” it further alleged.

Lastly, the PDEA also filed charges of corrupt practices of public officers under Section 3 of R.A. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for allegedly “causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

In the same complaint, the PDEA filed illegal drug importation charges under R.A. 9165 against importers and facilitators of the shabu shipment – Chen Ju Long, Chen Rong Juan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba II, Teejay Marcellana, Eirene May Tatad, Emily Dee, Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun.

It also included in the charge sheet the directors and officers of Hong Fei Logistics Inc., the warehouse where the shabu shipment was seized – Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual and Mary Rose Dela Cruz.

PDEA’s complaint is separate from the complaint for drug smuggling filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the importers and brokers of the shipment, which is already undergoing preliminary investigation before the DOJ.

The drug shipment arrived at the BOC last May 17 and was released from the port on May 23.

Both Chen and Li denied having any knowledge that there were drugs in the shipment, initially declared as kitchenware, footwear and moldings.

During the House hearing on the entry of the shabu shipment to the country, Taguba implicated a trusted aide of BOC chief Nicanor Faeldon, along with several others, in the alleged PHP270 million in bribes to BOC personnel in exchange for prompt release of shipments.

Among those accused by Taguba were Customs Import Assessment Services (IAS) Director Milo Maestrecampo, Faeldon’s former colleague in the military; Teddy Raval of the Intelligence Group; intelligence officer Teodoro Sagaral; district collector Vincent Maronilla; director Niel Estrella of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service; a certain “Major Gutierrez” who turned out to be already deceased; a certain Jayson and Maita, the latter from the formal entry division. PNA-northboundasia.com