Justice junks Faeldon plea on shabu case
THE Justice department on Thursday dismissed the plea of former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to dump the criminal complaints filed against him by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in his alleged involvement in the P6.4-billion drug smuggling scandal.
The department made the dismissal in a resolution after Faeldon pleaded to transfer the case to the Ombudsman.
But in the resolution dated Oct. 12 but was only released on Thursday, the department insisted it had the jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary investigation of any case involving a public officer with a salary grade above 27.
The department also said that certain provisions of R.A. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, also provided that the Regional Trial Court had jurisdiction regardless of the position of the offending public officer.
The department’s basis in dumping Faeldon’s appeal was its ruling on the case of Senator Leila de Lima issued on Feb. 12, 2017, a position that was upheld by the Supreme Court’s decision on De Lima’s case involving illegal drugs.
“This panel finds no cogent reason to deviate from the earlier position of the department that it has jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary investigation over the drug cases involving public officers and employees including those who have a salary grade of 27 and higher,” the resolution says.
On Oct. 10, the high court ruled that the regional trial courts, not the Sandiganbayan, had jurisdiction on illegal drug cases involving public officials and employees regardless of salary grade.
Faeldon had dismissed the case filed against him by the PDEA as “sloppy” and “mere imaginations”.
The former Customs chief showed up on Thursday during the continuation of the preliminary investigation on the complaint accusing him of conspiring to import illegal drugs and coddling drug traffickers.
He said in his counter-affidavit that there was no basis on the accusations that he should be held accountable for the importation and bringing into the Philippines of 602.279 kilograms of shabu.