MANILA – The Bureau of Customs lawyer whom House of Representatives leaders took to task for calling Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez an “imbecile” in a Facebook post will stay at her post, Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said Thursday, despite advice from the congressmen for him to weigh whether or not his chief executive assistant was worth keeping.
“President Rodrigo Duterte himself asked me to reform this bureau and I believe, hiring skilled and competent employees who have the highest moral decency and integrity is vital in this transformation,” Faeldon said in a statement to media on Thursday. And, he added, Atty. Mandy Anderson fit the bill perfectly, so he could not allow the incident to be the basis for letting go of her.
“I will let Atty. Anderson remain in the Bureau as we need more people like her whose character is untainted with politics and corruption,” he added.
Nonetheless, he stressed that Anderson’s comment – for which she apologized to the House panel conducting the hearing on Customs’ performance – was her personal opinion, and did not reflect the position of the BOC.
“I would like to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed by Atty. Anderson on her Facebook account are solely hers and does not represent the views of the Bureau of Customs. The BOC does not have any inclination towards any of the politicians but we only follow the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte – that is to have an honest, clean and corrupt-free Bureau of Customs.”
Faeldon acknowledged that Facebook is a social media platform readily accessible to the public. “I am not condoning the action of my Chief of Staff, but Atty. Anderson is entitled to her own opinion.”
In her Facebook post, Anderson had said Speaker Alvarez was an “imbecile” for saying that Congress could abolish the Court of Appeals.
“As a public servant, I believe that our loyalty should always be to the public. We do not work for anyone but the public.”
Anderson’s personal opinion does not reflect or affect her efficacy in public service, he stressed. “We will remain firm in our resolve to provide good public service. The Bureau of Customs remains true to the call of the President.”
Issue of promotion
Faeldon also revealed that “the issue against Atty. Anderson and to the BOC may have something to do with the promotion of one of the BOC employees.” Sometime in May, he disclosed, he and Anderson turned down a favor asked for “by a congressman to grant the promotion of this employee. However, it did not materialize, as the employee was not qualified for the position.”
The BOC is now observing a more stringent process of promotion, Faeldon stressed, “and we will adhere to it. This is no longer the time to promote employees based on recommendations alone. Promotion must be based on qualifications and performance.”
In truth, he said, the employee endorsed for promotion by the unnamed congressman had been promoted several times, while other deserving ones never tasted promotion despite serving “five, 10, or even 20 years.”
Faeldon said, “I want to be fair. Kung nagpeperform sila nang maayos at qualified naman sila (If they had performed well and are qualified) for the position, there is no need for any recommendation at all.”