Duterte appoints ex-Customs Chief Faeldon as civil defense deputy

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Story updated to include statement of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte has given former Customs Chief Nicanor Faeldon a new position in government.

In a letter dated December 22, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Faeldon as Deputy Administrator III of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of Defense.

The former Customs chief stepped down from office in August amid the controversy over the P6.4-billion drug haul from China that slipped past the authorities in May.

Faeldon was then replaced by former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) head Isidro Lapena.

Following his resignation, then-Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella hinted Duterte may still tap the ex-commissioner for another post.

READ: Duterte names new PDEA, BOC chiefs

In a message sent to reporters, OCD Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad welcomed Faeldon's appointment as he "badly needed" a second deputy administrator.

The OCD is the implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDDRMC). It is tasked with "administering a comprehensive national civil defense and disaster risk reduction and management program" for the country.

"My job is so broad covering all four pillars of DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management) plus the admin/logistics side, which include human resource and procurement. I welcome and support his appointment," Jalad said.

He added the OCD needs to strengthen its executive offices in order to provide direction and supervision to its 17 regional offices.

Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes, whom Faeldon had a tense exchange with during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's hearing on the drug haul, claimed the President kept Faeldon because he knew secrets about the Duterte family.

"Faeldon knows the dark secrets of the Duterte family that's why, even if he is grossly incompetent, he remains a sacred cow," he said.

The ex-Customs chief had refused to answer questions from Trillanes during the hearing in August as he claimed the senator had already come up with conclusions against him.

READ: Faeldon, Trillanes clash at Senate hearing on ₱6.4-B shabu shipment

The ex-Customs chief is detained at the Senate for skipping the Blue Ribbon Committee's hearings on the drug haul in September.

Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has also accused Faeldon of receiving "tara" or payoffs to let shipments through the bureau. Faeldon has denied the allegation.

READ: Lacson links Faeldon to alleged Customs corruption

Prior to Faeldon's appointment, Duterte has also given former Customs Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala and former Import Assessment Service Director Milo Maestrecampo posts at the Transportation Department.

The two were also among Customs officials accused by Lacson of receiving bribes.

READ: DOTr chief on appointment of disgraced Customs officials: My concern is future performance