MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party is challenging the administration to make true the words of President Rodrigo Duterte about accountability by filing charges against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief Nicanor Faeldon and those behind calls for the establishment of a revolutionary government.
“If the Duterte government is serious about accountability, it should also pursue those behind the push for a revolutionary government and the entry of P6.4-billion worth of shabu into the country,” the LP said in a statement issued Friday.
The opposition party made the challenge after Duterte last Tuesday said that the country should have a new Charter “that would mandate more accountability and responsibility of officials.”
Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the charges against Faeldon and other BOC officials in relation to the smuggling of the illegal drugs from China that entered the Philippines via the green or express lane of the BOC last May when Faeldon was still the agency’s chief.
Meanwhile, there are alleged groups supposedly going around the country and campaigning for the declaration of a revolutionary government. They were also said to be claiming that they could get people designated as local officials under the said government.
The LP said the Duterte administration must be fair and thus should not only file cases “against its critics, but its allies as well.”
“Dapat patas ang gobyerno pagdating sa isyu ng accountability,” said LP president Sen. Francis Pangilinan, adding that the government had failed to pursue cases against allies involved in massive corruption issues.
“Ano’ng nangyari sa kaso ni dating Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon at iba pang mga opisyal ng Bureau of Customs ukol sa P6.4 bilyong halaga ng shabu na nakapuslit sa loob ng bansa? May pinapanagot ba ang pamahalaang ito?” Pangilinan asked.
[What happened to the case of former Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other Bureau of Customs officials in relation to the P6.4-billion shabu that was smuggled into the country? Did this government make anybody answerable for this?]
LP’s Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino said the DOJ had allowed two former associate commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) who allegedly received P50-million bribe from Chinese tycoon Jack Lam to escape plunder charges by downgrading the case to graft and direct bribery.
“Ayaw nating isipin na dahil appointee ni Pangulong Duterte ang dalawang ito kaya nakalusot sa kaso ngunit hindi maiwasan dahil napapadalas na ang ganitong mga isyu,” added Aquino.
[We don’t want to think that they got off the hook because they were appointees of President Duterte, but we can’t avoid to do so because issues like these are now cropping up more frequently.]
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that, “If the government is really serious in making people accountable for their actions, it must pursue those pushing for a revolutionary government. which is an illegal act.”
“Alam nila na ito’y bawal sa ating Saligang Batas ngunit hinayaan lang nila dahil pawang mga kaalyado nila ang nasa likod nito [They know that the Charter prohibits this but they allowed it because those behind the move are their allies],” added Drilon.