BY VINCE NONATO and ASHZEL HACHERO
CHARGES should be filed against fired Bureau of Corrections director general Nicanor Faeldon for being incompetent and for lying about the case of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez, Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said yesterday.
Drilon’s call came a day after President Duterte sacked Faeldon for disobeying his order to stop the release – for good conduct — of inmates convicted of heinous crimes, including Sanchez who is serving seven life terms for rape and murder.
Drilon said the President’s decision to fire Faeldon “confirmed what the public already knew: that Faeldon lied and weaved alibis under oath to exculpate himself.”
Drilon also said Faeldon should not be given a new post in government, given his poor public service record.
“Such a shady and dubious character is the reason why the government’s war against corruption in the bureaucracy fails,” he said.
Faeldon was first appointed by Duterte to the Bureau of Customs but was forced to resign after billions of pesos worth of shabu slipped into the country through ports. After Customs, he was appointed to the Office of Civil Defense before being named BuCor head in 2018.
Drilon accused Faeldon of having “clearly exhibited gross inexcusable negligence and willful misconduct, if not corruption.”
“Faeldon was caught lying through his teeth. He tried to deceive the Senate and the public. He lied over and over again to evade accountability,” he said in a statement.
Drilon cited Faeldon’s initial statement that he stopped Sanchez’ early release on good behavior. It was later revealed that Faeldon actually signed a “memorandum of release” that he said he quickly recalled.
Drilon said Faeldon also displayed gross ignorance of the law when he applied good conduct time allowances to reduce Sanchez’ sentence, even if he was twice caught in possession of illegal drugs while doing time at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
He questioned Faeldon’s inability to explain why Sanchez’ infractions were not recorded in his “carpeta,” which turned out to be spotless despite the reported violations.
“His name has become synonymous with incompetence. His actions clearly exhibited gross inexcusable negligence and willful misconduct, if not corruption,” Drilon said.
An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the President should not stop with Faeldon’s firing.
“Resignation and firing the person/s is a quick fix ‘solution’ to the problem. We should be able to make the persons who committed wrong accountable,” said Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care.
At the continuation of the Senate hearing on the controversy arising from reports last month about Sanchez’ impending release, BuCor director Maria Fe Marquez contradicted her boss’ statement that the memorandum order he signed for Sanchez is not a release order.
She said, “My best understanding, your honor, is that it is a release order, a memorandum to release,” Marquez said on questioning by Sen. Panfilo Lacson about the memorandum she signed for the release of 44 inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) last August 16.
Included in the 44 PDLs that Marquez signed are for three of the seven convicts in the 1997 rape and murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu.
Lacson asked Marquez why she was the one who signed the memorandum order when it should have been Faeldon as the BuCor chief. She said Faeldon at that time was not in the BuCor main office in the NBP as he was visiting the Sablayan Penal Colony in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
Marquez told Lacson she signed the order out of concern that she might be charged with arbitrary detention, prompting Lacson to say that she should have waited for her boss.
Lacson said Marquez could not be charged with arbitrary detention.
It was then that Marquez explained it “was my understanding that release orders should be acted promptly.”
Faeldon was a no-show in the Senate hearing in the morning but appeared in the afternoon. His lawyer said there had been a mix-up in schedule.
Faeldon later told reporters he has no bitter feelings.
“I can now soundly sleep. There is no more yoke sa aking balikat (on my shoulders),” he said.
Faeldon left his office hours after President Duterte announced his firing on Wednesday night.
Together with his wife, their three-year-old daughter, and their dog, Faeldon left the director general’s quarters before 1 a.m. He bid goodbye to his staff by saying that it is a gift to be given an opportunity to serve the country.