Sanchez family invited to Senate inquiry
MANILA - Embattled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon on Monday admitted meeting with relatives of convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, but denied giving them assurance that the high-profile criminal would be released.
Faeldon defended his actions amid allegations corruption was involved in the granting of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to Sanchez that would have reduced his prison term and allowed him to walk free.
He recounted that in July, the Sanchezes attempted to meet him but he did not grant them audience because it was already late.
“I was already resting in my quarters when I was informed by one of my staff that family of Sanchez wanted to talk to me,” Faeldon said in a Senate inquiry.
“I said, 'can you request if it's possible, bukas na lang ng office time natin kausapin sa opisina.' Hindi raw sila aalis ‘pag ‘di hinarap, so I was shocked… hindi talaga ako lumabas.”
(I told my staff to tell them to just meet the following day, during office hours. They said they would not leave until I come out, so I was shocked… I did not come out.)
Faeldon said when he met with the Sanchez family, they cried and appealed to help the former Laguna mayor convicted in a 1990s rape-murder case that was among the most followed in the country.
“I told them, 'If your father is going to be qualified for GCTA, just like the rest of the PDL (persons deprived of liberty)… he will be released,’” Faeldon said.
Minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she received information that Antonio’s son, Allan, claimed that he met with Faeldon who then reassured him that the family patriarch would soon be released.
Faeldon said Allan was lying.
“There was never an assurance [from me],” he said.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the justice and Blue Ribbon committees that conducted the joint probe, said he will invite the Sanchez family to the next hearing on Tuesday.
“If they don’t attend, I will issue a subpoena for them,” Gordon said.
Gordon said Hontiveros’ claim that the GCTA was being sold in the national penitentiary was not a far-fetched idea.
“I am not putting that out of my mind. Masyadong madaling pasukin ng pera 'yung GCTA system na iyan (money can easily penetrate the GCTA system),” Gordon told reporters in a chance interview.
Sen. Imee Marcos, meanwhile, said Faeldon and other BuCor officials who processed the GCTA computation must be subjected to a lifestyle check. Faeldon did not object to this.
Faeldon enjoys President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust, being appointed to various sensitive government posts, including the leadership at the Bureau of Customs.
But various controversies, the latest of which is the GCTA issue, have tested their ties.
Faeldon said he was not inclined to resign in the wake of the GCTA controversy.