MANILA - An exchange between former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and Senator Richard Gordon became heated on Monday after the senator said the former Customs chief had a party with his family even while during detention.
It was the first time that Faeldon, now appointed as an official of the Office of Civil Defense, to attend the Senate probe since he was cited in contempt by the Blue Ribbon Committee for failing to attend the hearings in 2017.
At the start of the inquiry on the P6.4 billion shabu shipment, Gordon, chair of the said committee, refused to call Faeldon a captain, saying the former mutineer should pay for rebelling against the government.
He pointed out that the Senate has spent almost P400,000 so far for Faeldon's detention. The former Customs chief, the senator stressed, was also allowed to celebrate Christmas with his family in the Senate.
"Merong nakaparadang ambulansya palagi diyan, nakahanda kung ikaw ay magkakasakit o aatakehin. Ikaw ay pinayagan magkaroon ng mga party sa baba. Dumating ang iyong ama at mga kamag-anak," Gordon stressed, asking Faeldon if he agrees with what he said.
"I do not agree with the rest," answered Faeldon.
"You do not agree na hindi kayo pinayagan magkaroon ng bisita?" the Senator asked in return.
"My father has been long dead. I never had a party with my father dito sa Senate. I had no party with anybody" said the former Customs chief.
Faeldon explained that he had dinner with his family inside the Senate while he was detained during Christmas, but he stressed that it was not a party.
"You are exaggerating," he told Gordon.
"Don't tell me I am exaggerating," Gordon shouted, followed by a short moment of silence.
"Ito ang logbook. You have no right to tell me anything."
He snapped: "Party is a group of people enjoying themselves."
"I attended this hearing, sir, because I am now a government employee not because I expect that you will lead this committee to find out the truth. You are so far from getting that, your honor," Faledon responded.
"Alright. Then you will remain under contempt," Gordon threatened him.
"I have no problem with that, your honor," rebutted Faeldon. "I did not attend here to have my liberty. I attended here because I'm the most interested person to ferret out the truth."
Faeldon stressed that Gordon is "monologuing" during the Senate hearings, and said that the senator is far from interested in finding out the truth.
He pointed out that he told the senator that he is willing to answer all of Gordon's questions via affidavit but that the senator never asked him anything. He accused Gordon of trying to make it appear that he was not willing to participate in the Senate inquiry on the smuggled shabu.
Gordon, meanwhile, told Faeldon he should not cry during the hearing. "First time you were here, you defied Senator Trillanes...Umiiyak ka nun," he said.
The heated debate between the officials continued for a few more minutes. It ended after Gordon started shutting off Faeldon's microphone, saying the official can only speak when asked a question.