Senate orders Faeldon transfer to Pasay City Jail

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2018 08:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2019 03:13 PM

(UPDATED) Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon on Monday said senators unanimously decided to cite former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon in contempt and transfer him to the Pasay City Jail.

Gordon made the manifestation before the Senate session after a caucus attended by around 20 senators.

According to Gordon, the decision to cite Faeldon in contempt was due to his behavior during a Blue Ribbon committee hearing on Monday. 

Faeldon faced the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee as it resumed its probe into alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs.

Gordon said Faeldon was "arrogant" and "defiant," and that the Senate has to protect itself from such behavior from resource persons.

Just as the hearing started, Faeldon engaged in a heated exchange with Gordon, accusing him of "exaggerating" and "monologuing" during the hearing.

Gordon said the Senate allowed Faeldon to hold parties, which was attended by his father, even while under detention. 

But Faeldon belied this, saying his father has long been dead, and that he only had "dinner" with his family but no "party."

Faeldon also criticized the chairman's handling of the hearing, saying he does not want to attend because Gordon has been "monologuing" and lecturing instead of seeking the truth.

Faeldon has been detained for contempt since September 2017 after he failed to show up in previous hearings.

During Monday's hearing, Faeldon accused two senators of making improper requests when he was still BOC Commissioner.

He said that in 2016, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had asked him to sign a memorandum of agreement for the renovation of a building in Iloilo using the funds of the National Historical Commission. 

The building was occupied by the BOC and other government offices.

But Drilon sees nothing illegal with the move, saying the project even saved P9 million of the P20 million allocated for it.

Faeldon also told the committee that Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III had asked him to promote a customs official as head of intelligence. But, he said, the official's performance did not warrant a promotion.

Sotto admitted making a recommendation, but also insisted that there was nothing irregular in it.

Gordon backed Drilon and Sotto.

Also during the hearing, Faeldon claimed that retired Philippine Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Damian Carlos, had asked him to release a shipment, found to be underdeclared, but he opposed the request. 

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Senate President Koko Pimentel has signed the commitment order to transfer Faeldon from the Senate to the Pasay City Jail.

Faeldon, however, will stay at the Senate until his cell at the Pasay City Jail is ready.

According to Senate Secretary Lutgardo Barbo, Pasay City Jail is "unsanitary" and they have yet to ensure that there is a space for Faeldon. 

Faeldon will also undergo a medical check-up as his blood pressure rose during the Senate inquiry. - with a report from Michael Delizo, DZMM