Dismayed Liberal Party (LP) senators on Thursday expressed disappointment over the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to clear former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Estrella of charges over the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China at Bureau of Custom (BOC) last May.
“Kapag kakampi pinalulusot at iyong mga maliliit at mahihina lang ang hinahabol [Allies are allowed to go scot-free, and only the small-time and the weak are being chased],” LP president Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
“Ano bang alam ni Faeldon na hindi natin alam? Sadya ba talaga silang pinalusot upang hindi natin malaman kung sino talaga ang nasa likod ng napakalaking shipment ng shabu na ito [What does Faeldon know that we don’t? Were they deliberately allowed to get off the hook so that we won’t know who are behind this enormous shipment of shabu]?” added Pangilinan.
DOJ also cleared Customs intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente, lawyers Jeleena Magsuci and Philip Maronilla, and personnel Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo, and John Edillor.
However, the High Court found probable cause to charge several others for importation of dangerous drugs, among them are Richard Tan, owner of the Valenzuela warehouse where the shabu shipment was found; businessman Kenneth Dong; Manny Li; customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II; EMT Trading owner Eirene Mae Tatad; broker Teejay Marcellana; Chen Min; Jhu Ming Jhun; and Chen Rong Huan, and other unidentified individuals known only as John Doe, Jane Doe, and George Doe.
Senator Bam Aquino, who was saddened by the decision, noted that only private individuals were charged.
“Nakakalungkot ang desisyong ito dahil puro pribadong indibidwal lang ang kinasuhan habang ligtas naman sa asunto ang mga nagkuntsabahan para makalusot ang droga sa bansa [This decision is saddening because only private individuals were charged while those who connived to import drugs into the country were spared],” said Sen. Bam Aquino.
“Ito ang mapait na katotohanan sa giyera kontra droga. Ang mga maliliit na tao, pinapatay habang malaya ang mga taong malalapit sa pamahalaan [This is the bitter truth on the war on drugs: The powerless are killed while those close to power go scot-free],” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, on his part, said that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) should focus in the investigation saying that it was a clear action of destroying the country’s justice system.
“Hindi dapat tantanan ng PDEA ang kasong ito dahil ito’y isang malinaw na pagyurak sa sistema ng katarungan sa bansa [The PDEA should be relentless in pursuing this case because this is a clear travesty of the justice system in the country],” said Drilon.