CUSTOMS Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon lashed out at his critics Wednesday, saying he would not allow any politician to meddle in the promotion of bureau employees so that they could put their own people in place.
Faeldon, pressured by lawmakers to resign after Customs examiners allowed 600 kilos of shabu (methamphetamine) slip into the country in May, turned the table on his critics at a press conference, saying they should be ashamed of themselves for trying to influence his office to promote employees who are not qualified.
“Shame on you,” Faeldon said. “That is a form of corruption.”
Some politicians, he added, also wanted a say in job assignments so that their own people could get plum posts.
“The biggest problem of the bureau is corruption. First, the procurement process of our personnel is a big problem. We allow politicians, government officials to send their people, force them here. The congressman, the councilor, the barangay captain, the governor—believe me, most of them also have importation companies [or] forwarding companies,” Faeldon said.
“Their people are here to protect the interests of their bosses. So until we fix that first, corruption here will continue,” he said.
In a recent run-in, Faeldon’s chief of staff, Mandy Mercado Anderson, rejected an endorsement from Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, saying that the candidate for promotion was not qualified.
“They want me to influence the promotion board so that their people here would be promoted,” Faeldon said. “And I tell them right in their face I will never lift a finger to influence promotions here. That is a form of corruption.”
Faeldon said President Rodrigo Duterte called him into a meeting at the Palace Tuesday and told him to continue serving the country.
“After the meeting, the President told me, ‘I trust you, so my marching order to you is to continue to serve this country. I do not need personal loyalty but I want you to continue to be loyal to this country,’” he said.
He also told his detractors to stop treating the bureau as if it were their property.
“This is the Filipinos’ Bureau of Customs, so don’t act like you own this,” he said.
They can get mad at me but as long as I’m here I will continue to say no to them,” he added.
“They even want to dictate assignments. You put this guy here. Why will I allow that?” he said in Filipino. “They should become commissioner so they will take responsibility for all the stupidity here. I am the one being blamed for all the lousiness here, when they are the ones trying to put people here who are so lousy.”
Faeldon said he did not name the politicians when he met Duterte, saying that was not his style.
But he also said he was angry at politicians who are making the bureau more corrupt.
“I do not want to humiliate anybody. We are all workers in the government but I am appealing to you. Stop it. Stop it because it doesn’t do anything good for this country. You know it’s wrong…. This is a very corrupt bureau and you are making it more corrupt. Please stop it,” he said.
“It won’t work anymore,” he added. “You can get mad at me and try your best to boot me out of here every day… As long as I am here, I will continue to say no to you… Those of you with the most number of requests, that’s why you’re so mad at me now.”
He urged legislators to pass a law that would prohibit public officials from making personnel recommendations in the bureau.
“Let’s leave to the President to recommend, anyhow, he has the power to appoint,” he said.
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