Initially refusing to answer Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s questions, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, answered the question of corruption in the agency with a ‘yes’ during the third Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the smuggling of P6.4B worth of shabu.
A heated exchange between ex-mutineers Faeldon and Trillanes ensued, as the latter asked if there was a corruption in BOC. Faeldon declined to answer by calling the Senator’s questioning as a form of accusation of his involvement.
As the two continued in their standoff, Blue Ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon interrupted, “There may be something between you, may pinagsamahan kayo (you two had relations). Yung alitan niyo ‘wag niyo dalhin ang alitan dito. Pagkakataon mo na sagutin ‘yan. (Do not bring your personal differences here. This is your chance to respond to the allegations).”
Trillanes pursued with his question, “Tinatanong kita meron ba corruption sa Customs o wala (I am asking if there is corruption in Customs or not). I will cite you in contempt.”
Faeldon however still did not answer, at one point just stared at the Senator, and even asked for 30 seconds before answering. Trillanes cut him off saying that the question is answerable by ‘yes or no.’
The Customs Chief said that it would be ‘pointless’ to answer Trillanes who found him guilty of his accusations, and continued his refusal even when Gordon told him to answer the former soldier senator’s question.
Gordon called a recess when Faeldon told the committee “I will no longer answer questions from honorable Senator Trillanes.”
During the break, Gordon talked to Faeldon who removed his eyeglasses and wiped his tears.
The hearing resumed and when asked with the same question, Faeldon finally answered with, “Yes, your honor.”
This was Faeldon’s first appearance, since he missed the first two hearings because of dental emergency and heart issues respectively.
In a statement on Thursday, Trillanes said that “As to Faeldon, I have enough information to say that he is at the heart of his controversy. And once he is done malingering, I hope he musters enough courage to face the grilling of the Senators and Congressmen,” Trillanes said in a statement.