Ombudsman Investigators recommend filing of charges vs. Faeldon over ₱6.4 billion shabu smuggling case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — Investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman Wednesday recommend the filing of charges against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon over the multi-billion peso shabu smuggling case in 2017.

Investigators, meanwhile, proposed that charges in the same case be dropped against former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Mans Carpio, President Rodrigo Duterte's son and son-in-law.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Wednesday, Faeldon said he welcomed this development so that the issue could finally be put to rest.

However, Faeldon said he believes no charges will be filed against him.

"There's no crime committed and we have nothing to defend. We just go there and tell the truth that's all we need to do," he told CNN Philippines chief correspondent Pia Hontiveros.

He added, he and other officials involved in the case should have been commended instead of charged.

"Hindi po nakawala yung shabu, nakalabas po dun sa isang port – there are more than 30 ports – at hinabol ko po. So, I don't really know what's really the case here na...e hinabol ko po e. I cannot be everywhere kasi 30 yung ports natin, and the law is very clear that's the responsibility of our collectors pero nakarating sa akin yung information na baka may nakapasok na shabu kaya hinabol po natin," he said.

[Translation: The shabu got out of one port – there are more than 30 ports – and I went after it. So, I don't really know what's really the case here...I went after it. I cannot be everywhere because we have 30 ports, and the law is very clear that's the responsibility of our collectors, but the information reached me that shabu could have gotten in so we went after it.]

Also on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang "respects the recent decision of the Ombudsman recommending the filing of charges against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon et al."

He said Faeldon will now have his day in court where he can defend himself in the preliminary investigation.

Faeldon, Duterte, and Carpio were alleged to have been involved in the smuggling of over 600 kilograms of shabu worth ₱6.4 billion. The illegal drugs were seized during a raid of a warehouse in Valenzuela City on May 26, 2017.

Faeldon and other Customs officials were charged by the the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) over the issue, but these were dropped by the Justice Department for insufficient evidence.

Faeldon has since been appointed Deputy Administrator III of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of Defense.

Carpio and the ex-Davao City Vice Mayor, meanwhile, were cleared of any responsibility in the case after Customs fixer Mark Taguba, who is facing charges over his alleged involvement in the issue, retracted his statements regarding both Carpio and Duterte.