Ex-mutineer Faeldon says willing to return to jail if amnesty proven void

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2018 09:22 PM

MANILA - Former rebel and now Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Deputy Director for Operations Nicanor Faeldon said Wednesday he was willing to go back to jail if proven that there was a problem with his amnesty.

"I'm willing to go back to jail and start with the process," he told reporters.

Faeldon made the statement in light of President Rodrigo Duterte's withdrawal of the amnesty of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his supposed failure to formally apply for it and admit guilt.

Trillanes and Faeldon were among junior military officers that led uprisings in 2003 and 2007 against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

They were among several officers granted amnesty in 2011 by former President Benigno Aquino III. 

The former customs chief explained Wednesday that like Trillanes, he too signed an application form for amnesty and an affidavit of admission.

Faeldon confirmed it was then Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who also signed his certificate of amnesty, a move that Duterte said is tantamount to usurpation of authority.

Duterte had argued that the power to grant amnesty is vested solely in the Commander-in-Chief and that Gazmin committed a violation in recommending and granting amnesty to Trillanes.

Trillanes, however, said Gazmin was authorized to sign the certificate as there was a valid delegation of authority from Aquino.

"After seeing the cards of both parties, naging maliwanag din sa'kin, I think may problema talaga (It became clear to me, I think there really is a problem)," Faeldon said.

"If we all agree that act of pardon and amnesty is an act of the state and it cannot be delegated to another official except the President, may problema talaga (there really is a problem)," he added.

Asked whether he still has a copy of his application form and affidavit, Faeldon said he has yet to look for it but confirmed that he did submit such documents.

"It's pointless. If the law is 'yung sinabi ni Presidente, wala nang maraming issue (what the President said, let's not have an issue with it). Let's all go back to jail, restart the process," he said.

Faeldon said it took him four months before he decided to apply for amnesty, long after Trillanes and other mutineers have filed their applications.

"One of the provisions there that I do not want to admit is apologizing to the former president. That's why nag-apply na sila January pa lang. Ako I waited up to the last day, April 1 before I applied because ang bigat nun (They applied that January, I waited up to the last day, April 1 before I applied because it was heavy for me)," he said.

Faeldon was named customs chief under the Duterte administration 
until he was forced to resign in August 2017 over corruption charges. He denied the allegations.

He was later given a post at the OCD.

Asked what advice he could give his former fellow mutineer Trillanes, Faeldon said: "Di ko pakikialaman buhay nun (I won't interfere in his life). He has his own mind and views. I can only speak on behalf of myself." 

Faeldon and Trillanes have long been at odds, the bad blood becoming apparent in heated exchanges during a senate inquiry on customs corruption last year.

Faeldon earlier claimed Trillanes received money from Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos back in 2004 while in detention.

The senator, meanwhile, said his conflict with his former comrade began when Faeldon "sided or went with the Duterte campaign."