MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon after the latter approved the release of several heinous crime convicts.
In response to a reporter's query on whether he was sacking the official, Duterte said: "Yes, now."
The President said this minutes after he called on Faeldon to resign.
"I am demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately," Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.
"Faeldon has to go because Faeldon disobeyed my order," he said.
Faeldon released a brief statement saying: "I am a soldier, I do as I am told."
Faeldon came under fire after news surfaced that his agency had approved convicted rapist-killer Antonio 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), which allows the early release of convicts. 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 but to follow Republic Act 10592, the 2013 law which increased GCTA to cover detention time.
A former mutineer, Faeldon was initially appointed as Customs chief.
It was under Faeldon's watch when some billions worth of shabu slipped past port inspections.
He quit the Customs' top post in 2017 and had a short stint at the Office of Civil Defense before heading the BuCor in late 2018.
OMBUDSMAN TO INVESTIGATE
The President also ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate BuCor officials who have been with the agency since 2015, or a year after the early release of prisoners started.
Duterte said these officials should also report to him and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. The BuCor is an attached agency of the justice department.
The BuCor earlier said nearly 2,000 heinous crime convicts have been released since 2014.
“With Faeldon out, I am ordering all who has had the opportunity to be in that committee, all of them are with the BuCor, to report to me and to the Secretary of Justice,” he said.
“In the meantime, I will not suspend them but they will be investigated. Diretso na ito sa Ombudsman (This will go directly to the Ombudsman). This is a prima facie case. There’s an admission that they were remiss in their duties,” he said.