IT’S time to let him go.
Controversy seems to stick to Nicanor Faeldon like bubble gum to a shoe, and the guy can’t seem to shake it off. Except for a short and forgettable stint at the Office of Civil Defense, every other post Faeldon has held in the Duterte administration has been marked with scandal. It was not too long ago that P6.4 billion worth of shabu waltzed through the Bureau of Customs under Faeldon’s watch.
Despite the furor it caused, no big fish were caught in relation to that shipment; the authorities only managed to snag the poor caretaker of the warehouse. (Incidentally, the caretaker, Fidel Anioche Dee, was acquitted of drug possession charges by the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court.)
And now, this brouhaha because of the aborted release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez under Republic Act 10592, which expanded the existing good conduct time allowance under the Revised Penal Code. I remember watching one of Faeldon’s interviews in the early days of the controversy where he said that he doubted that Sanchez could qualify for good conduct time allowance, owing to the latter’s violations of prison regulations and even criminal laws during his incarceration. This statement effectively threw Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra under the bus, leaving the latter to defend the possible release of Sanchez (it was Guevarra who first said that Sanchez may be released under the GCTA, along with 11,000 inmates.)
Perhaps Faeldon thought that he was free and clear, leaving Guevarra to deal with the Sanchez mess. Then a copy of Sanchez’s release order for August 20, 2019 surfaced, thanks to enterprising journalists. Guess whose John Hancock was on the document? If you guessed Faeldon, then you win the grand prize, dear millennial and fillennial. Faeldon’s duplicity and intent to deceive is quite apparent in this instance, and cannot be denied. Add this to the disturbing development of the murder of one of Faeldon’s own officials at the Bureau of Corrections, Ruperto Traya Jr. in Muntinlupa City.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories but the fact that Traya was in charge of paperwork and documents in the Bureau of Corrections is an obvious red flag at the least, and there should be a thorough investigation to find out if Traya’s assassination is in any way connected to the Sanchez controversy.
Expect Faeldon to ignore calls for his resignation, with different variations of “I serve at the pleasure of the President.” Remember that at the height of the controversy over the shabu shipment, he stubbornly held on to his post, despite causing embarrassment to his principal, President Duterte. It’s quite obvious that Faeldon is unfamiliar with the concept of falling on his sword to save his principal from further trouble, especially in cases where he himself is the cause of embarrassment. Perhaps selfish is as selfish does, and reminds me of a story I heard about why Faeldon has long fallen out with the Magdalo folks: during their detention, they agreed not to attempt to escape detention to avoid getting their guards (who were their juniors in the military) in trouble. Faeldon was the only one who broke this agreement, and in fact mounted two escape attempts. Perhaps that shows us a glimmer of Faeldon’s motivations, where self-preservation seems to be paramount. We can only wonder how long Mr. Duterte’s tolerance of Faeldon will last. Hopefully, not long. And if that day should come that President Duterte lets Faeldon go, it should come with criminal charges.