MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s next move on embattled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon "will say a lot" about his battle against illegal drugs and corruption.
Lacson said Monday’s Senate inquiry on the release of several high-profile convicts, including rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, revealed that Faeldon indeed abused his position.
Faeldon has refused to resign from his post, saying he will leave his fate to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Since Faeldon has categorically stated that he's leaving his fate to the appointing authority, the subsequent action of the president will say a lot about his avowed battle against drugs and corruption,” Lacson said in a statement.
Faeldon was criticized for signing orders for the release of Sanchez, 3 persons convicted in the 1997 rape-slay of the Chiong sisters, and several drug convicts for supposed good conduct while in prison.
But several senators believe heinous crime convicts and those who committed grave offenses while in prison do not deserve reduced prison terms under a 2013 law that increased the so-called good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
Lacson said Faeldon may have tried to evade responsibility for the order to release Sanchez but it was clear his fingerprints were all over it.
He noted that while Faeldon distanced himself from the Sanchez release order, its wordings were similar to the release orders for the convicts in the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters.
“Maliwanag na palusot lang. Iisa lang naman ang language or wordings ng release order na pinirmahan niya para kay Sanchez at release orders na pinirmahan ni CT Supt. Maria Fe Marquez,” Lacson said.
(It was clear he was just making up an excuse. The language and wordings of the release order he signed for Sanchez and the one signed by CT Supt. Maria Fe Marquez were the same.)
Marquez is the director of BuCor’s Directorate for Reformation and the Head of the Management, Screening and Evaluation Committee.
She confirmed during Monday’s Senate inquiry that she signed the release orders for the convicts in the Chiong sisters’ case.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said during the same hearing that since he was appointed to the DOJ in April 2018, he had not received any request for approval for the release of any convict on the basis of good conduct time allowance, despite a 2015 DOJ department order requiring the DOJ’s approval for release for those sentenced to life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua.
Department Order 953 issued on November 25, 2015 was signed by then Justice Secretary and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
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 during Monday’s hearing.
“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?)
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former aide, said he does not know what Duterte’s next move on Faeldon will be, but he guaranteed that “heads will roll.”