MANILA - Embattled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon on Monday said he “believes” he should not resign, as outrage grows over his role in the order to have convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez released from jail.
Asked by minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros in a Senate hearing whether he should resign for his supposed inefficiency in running BuCor, Faeldon said: “I believe no, ma’am.”
Faeldon also said he believes he was doing a good job as BuCor head.
Hontiveros disagreed, saying “so far, ang lumalabas sa committee hearing na ito would point to the opposite direction.”
(So far, what came out in this committee hearing would point to the opposite direction.)
Faeldon came under fire after news surfaced that his agency approved Sanchez's release based on good conduct while in prison.
Sanchez was supposed to be released last August after earning enough “good conduct time allowance” (GCTA). This, however, did not push through following public outrage.
Faeldon admitted he signed an order that supposedly started the processing of Sanchez’s release, but insisted he had no choice to follow Republic Act 10592, the 2013 law which increased GCTA.
Hontiveros believes Faeldon gave special accommodation to Sanchez, as she hinted that the GCTA measure was being abused by corrupt officials.
She also slammed the BuCor for failing to notify the victims of families of the impending release of convicts due to GCTA.
She added, many more deserving prisoners deserved to be released earlier due to increased GCTA.
Faeldon said about 200 convicts have been released since the Supreme Court ruled in June 2019 that RA 10592 should be applied retroactively.
News of the possible release of Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta in 1995 and the torture-killing of companion Allan Gomez, outraged the public and various government officials.
It also opened old wounds from the victims’ families.
“Where’s justice here?” asked Sarmenta’s mother Ma. Clara.
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.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the justice and Blue Ribbon committees, castigated Faeldon for allowing these developments in the Sanchez case and for approving the release of some drug convicts.
“The buck stops with you,” Gordon told Faeldon.
“Ang laki ng tiwala sa iyo ng Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte, hindi ba tumalikod ka sa tiwala sa iyo ni president na papalayain mo ang mga drug pushers na ito?”
(President Duterte trusts you so much. Did you not betray his trust by allowing the release of these drug pushers?)