MALACANANG clarified Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte chose to stay silent on the issue of the P6.4-billion worth of shabu shipped from China because he wants the whole truth.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it was "not unusual" that Duterte is silent on the drug shipment controversy that involves officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
"As the President said, he does not intervene in matters like this. He will allow the process to unfold. So it's not unusual that he's quiet about that. He's simply saying that he will not interfere because the process has begun," Abella said in a press conference.
On Thursday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of Duterte, criticized the President for his silence on the shabu controversy.
The senator slammed Duterte's refusal to let go of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon despite the latter's failure to protect the commission from the allegations of corruption hurled against it.
"Duterte gets infuriated when it comes to illegal drugs. He curses those who criticize him but on the entry of [over] P6.-billion worth of shabu, he seems to be speechless," Trillanes said in an interview.
"Duterte is aware that Faeldon knows everything about him and if it is revealed to the public, they will be dismayed and will know the real character of Duterte's family," he added.
Abella shrugged off Trillanes' latest tirade, dismissing as "mere speculation" the senator's claim that Duterte was threatened to remove Faeldon from public service.
"It will be his prerogative to do so. I don't know about the 'can't' [let go of Faeldon] but whatever it is, it would have to be the President's decision. It would be a mere speculation to say he can or cannot," he said.
On August 1, Duterte summoned Faeldon to Malacañang amid calls for BOC chief's resignation. It, however, turned out that Faeldon still enjoyed Duterte's trust, which was echoed during their meeting.
The President said he still believed in Faeldon's "integrity."
"I believe in his integrity. As a matter of fact, he was in Davao four years ago when he was together with some military men, and they were urging me to run," Duterte told reporters in an interview on August 2.
Faeldon, who is the subject of the Senate and House hearings on the shabu shipment, skipped the investigations this week, citing health concerns. (SunStar Philippines)