EXCLUSIVE: Senate issues subpoena ordering Faeldon to attend Monday hearing

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2019 10:14 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2019 11:10 PM

MANILA—Sen. Richard Gordon on Saturday said his committee has issued a subpoena ordering Bureau of Corrections director-general Nicanor Faeldon to attend a hearing on Monday in connection with the questionable application of the good conduct time allowance.

"Pina-subpoena ko na. Nu'ng una nga invitation lang. Ang sagot nila, hindi a-attend . . . Meron daw training sa Canadian embassy," Gordon told ABS-CBN News.

ABS-CBN News learned that the Senate blue ribbon committee, which Gordon chairs, received a letter from Faeldon informing the committee that he intends to skip the hearing and explaining his reason.

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In the letter, Faeldon said Frederic Antonio Santos, the BuCor's legal office chief, will attend in his behalf.

“Nagmi-meeting kami kanina kasi nga nagpe-prepare kami para sa blue ribbon hearing sa Monday. Tapos pinakita sa akin 'yung letter niya, nagalit ako kanina. Sabi ko ‘I want him subpoenaed.’ Tinawagan ko agad si SP (Senate President Vicente Sotto III,” Gordon said.

A copy of the subpoena was immediately delivered to Sotto, who confirmed to ABS-CBN News in a text message that he signed off on the subpoena.

“He (Faeldon) has to answer for the actions of the BuCor and not merely send his henchmen to answer for him," Sotto said.

The Senate's sergeant-at-arms office will serve the subpoena to Faeldon, Gordon said.

“This (hearing) is of the highest importance. This is striking a justice. He has to be there because he released a convict whose application for clemency was rejected last February 2017 . . . that’s Sanchez,” Gordon says.

Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan town, Laguna, was convicted of the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta in 1995 and the torture-killing of companion Allan Gomez. Six of his henchmen were also convicted in the crime, which the judge of the case called "a plot seemingly hatched in hell."

Faeldon previously announced Sanchez's release under good conduct time allowance, a penal act that allows long-time convicts to be released depending on their behavior in prison.

But the BuCor chief backtracked amid public uproar. He said Sanchez was not eligible to be released based on several grounds, including finding P1.5 million worth of shabu hidden in a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Sanchez's cell at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2010.

Documents surfaced, however, that showed Faeldon supposedly signed the release order of Sanchez dated August 20, 2019.

Aside from Sanchez’s case, senators want to quiz Faeldon and other BuCor officials over the release of more than 1,900 heinous-crime convicts released from 2014 to 2019, Gordon said.

In 2017, Sen. Ping Lacson alleged that Faeldon received a P107-million "welcome gift" when he assumed the Customs helm. It was under Faeldon's watch when some billions worth of shabu slipped past port inspections.

Faeldon denied the accusations while he was detained at the Senate over the incident. He, in turn, accused the Lacson's son of involvement in cement smuggling.

-- With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News