Senate panel recommends filing charges vs Faeldon, BuCor officials over GCTA mess

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2020 06:35 PM

Former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon during a Senate hearing on alleged misuse of GCTA in 2019.

MANILA - A Senate panel has recommended the filing of charges against former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon and 6 other officials in the national penitentiary for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act after they allegedly accepted payments for the early release of some inmates. 

Faeldon is "guilty of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance" after he skirted several laws and allowed several inmates to benefit from the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law even if they were not qualified, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee said in its committee report filed on February 3. 

Malfeasance is committing an act that one had no legal right to perform, misfeasance the failure to exercise due care and diligence in the performance of an official duty, and nonfeasance the refusal to perform an act which an officer is obliged to perform.

The GCTA allows the early release of convicts on account of good behavior. It cannot be granted on heinous crime prisoners. 

Aside from Faeldon, the following BuCor officials should also be held liable for the unlawful release of certain convicts:

  • Ramoncito "Chito" Roque, BuCor Chief of the Documents and Record Section
  •  Ma. Benilda "Mabel" Bansil, BuCor Senior Inspector
  •  Veronica "Boday" Buno, BuCor Corrections Officer
  •  Dr. Ernesto Tamayo, Director, Directorate for Health Services, New Bilibid Prison Hospital 
  •  Dr. Ursicio Cenas, Medical Officer, New Bilibid Prison Hospital 
  •  Meryl Benitez, Nursing Attendant, New Bilibid Prison Hospital

The said BuCor officials should be dismissed from public service and/or be imprisoned for "soliciting or accepting directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value in the course of one's official duties," the report read. 

The GCTA scheme became "clouded in obscurity and ambiguity" as Faeldon and his underlings failed to notify the Justice secretary and the offended party or their immediate relatives that several inmates were set to be freed, the panel said. 

It said Faeldon "cannot feign ignorance" of these requirements, citing instances where the former BuCor chief admitted to knowing that several standards have to be met before allowing an inmate to qualify for the GCTA.

Last year, the committee found that at least 821 inmates convicted for heinous crimes like rape, drug trafficking and murder were allowed to avail of early release for allegedly behaving well while in prison. 

As of January 29, 2020, the Ombudsman has filed graft, direct bribery charges against Roque, Bansil and Buno.

In September 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte sacked Faeldon from the top BuCor post after the Blue Ribbon Committee found that he signed the release papers of former Calauan Mayor and convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez.

Sanchez's release did not push through amid public uproar.