An upright man

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has immediately exonerated Nicanor Faeldon, saying he is “tarong na tawo” or an “upright man.” This is Faeldon, the former Bureau of Customs chief who had to resign over the entry of P6.4 billion worth of meth or shabu two years ago. It is the same Faeldon who was fired by the President last week for the raging controversy at the Bureau of Corrections which he headed, involving the sale of prisoner releases through ghe Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

    Now, Malacanang is saying – through Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo – that there is nothing wrong if President appoints Faeldon anew to another government post.

    Panelo’s announcement is lame, weak and illogical: “The President fired him because of not following his order… not because of corruption. That’s the point of the President. There is corruption inside so everybody might think that he was being fired for that. That’s not the case. It appears that there’s a lot of corruption below, but with regard to the high levels, as far as the President is concerned, his record is still clean.”

    This is hogwash, and the Palace factotum knows it. Corruption cannot flourish in the New Bilibid Prison if it does not include the Office of the Superintendent. Also, Faeldon himself admitted before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that he signed a “memorandum of release starting the process of release” of former mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna. Sen. Panfilo Lacson struck down this bafflegab, pointing out that a “memorandum of release” is the same as a release order. And the Sanchez son had a video interview, shown to the public by Sen. Gordon, that tends to show how their family was assured by Faeldon that their patriarch would be included in the next batch of releases.

    Details of corruption in the Bureau of Corrections would have been unknown to the public had our senators, particularly the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, did not take pains in investigating the matter.

    We credit the committee for seeking out, hearing the testimonies, and accepting evidence of the scandal known now as the “GCTA for sale” from courageous victims and witnesses such as Ms. Yolanda Camilon, who had given P50,000 to some prison officials but the promised release of her relative did not materialize.

    More witnesses and whistle blowers are expected to tell their stories to the Senate, following Camilon’s brave example.

    Meanwhile, Faeldon and his subordinates would be busy parrying charges and feigning innocence, and soon, only his subordinates would be left holding the bag, so to speak, because Faeldon could be in another government post shortly, thanks to President Duterte.

    Who would tell the President that he has a skewed notion of what uprightness is?