'Bad blood' with Faeldon foiled PDEA plan for Bilibid office, inmates' drug test

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2019 03:34 PM

'Bad blood' with Faeldon foiled PDEA plan for Bilibid office, inmates' drug test 1
Former BuCor Director Nicanor Faeldon and PDEA Director Aaron Aquino. File

MANILA - "Bad blood" between the chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and just-sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Nicanor Faeldon prevented the former from reviving its satellite office at the New Bilibid Prison and requiring inmates there to undergo drug tests, the agency's head said on Thursday. 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday fired Faeldon following his approval of the early release of some heinous crime convicts due to good conduct credits, the legality of which is being scrutinized by lawmakers. 

PDEA Director Aaron Aquino said that in his first meeting with Faeldon, the latter pointed out alleged errors in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between their agencies about the seizure of banned substances at the national penitentiary. 

"Parang naging bad blood yung first meeting namin... Inilabas niya yung sama ng loob ng BuCor na mali yung MOA na ginawa namin," Aquino told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview. 

(Our first meeting seemingly led to bad blood. He aired the BuCor's feelings that the MOA we made was wrong.) 

"Bakit mali, paano naging mali? Hindi ko alam kung ang tingin ba samin ng BuCor eh kakampi o kalaban. Ang gusto lang namin yung tama, ang amin lang, gusto namin ihinto ang ilegal na droga sa loob,” he added. 

(Why, how was it wrong? I don't know if the BuCor views us as an enemy or ally. We just want the right thing, we just want to stop the illegal drugs there.) 
 
Faeldon took over the BuCor in November 2018. 

Aquino said this prompted him to scrap a plan to put up a satellite office with canine units inside Bilibid and conduct drug tests among high-profile inmates in Building 14, as well as the maximum and medium security compounds. 

“It's high time na siguro na mabigyan ng kapangyarihan ang PDEA na makapasok sa ganitong kulungan na i-drug test naman namin sila. Lahat ng expenses sa 'min na, because one of the biggest source of smuggling ng drugs is through Bilibid prisons,” he said. 

(It's perhaps high time that PDEA is given power to enter this kind of prison, test all inmates for drug use. We'll shoulder all expenses because one of the biggest sources of smuggling ng drugs is through Bilibid prisons.) 

He also urged lawmakers to prohibit inmates who would test positive for drug use from getting early freedom based on good conduct time allowance (GCTA). 

"You committed another heinous crime when you tested positive for illegal drugs... Paano ka mabibigyan ng (how will you be given) good conduct?" he said. 

Duterte has ordered convicts freed under GCTA to surrender to authorities. 

The Senate earlier this week started investigating the GCTA, the processing of applications of which was suspended by the justice and interior departments to give way to a review. 

Around 22,000 prisoners, including about 2,000 who were convicted of heinous crimes, have been freed since 2014, BuCor records earlier showed. 

Among those freed were 4 Chinese drug lords, whose executive clemency pleas were opposed by PDEA earlier this year. 

-- Report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News