A misfit in government

By: Manuel “Boy” Mejorada

NO PUBLIC official can compare with embattled Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon in terms of involvement in controversies and scandals. When he was a Marine captain, he participated in a coup attempt against the government and was jailed.

Two years ago, he was detained in the Senate after being cited for contempt during a Blue Ribbon investigation into the P6.4 billion smuggling of shabu from China. He resigned as Customs chief, but was quickly appointed as deputy chief of the Office of Civil Defense. When now-Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa resigned last year after filing his COC, Faeldon was named to succeed him.

But Faeldon got caught in the eye of the storm during the last two weeks after it was discovered he was about to set former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez from prison under the good conduct time allowance law. By his own admission, Faeldon had already approved a recommendation to grant Sanchez his GCTA privilege when the news leaked and was quickly met with public outrage. Faeldon retreated and canceled the release papers for Sanchez.

The problem is that Faeldon wasn’t forthright and honest about the issue when it broke out. In fact, during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Monday, Faeldon was clearly trying to cover-up for his misdeeds. Faeldon was clearly lying through his teeth.

When confronted by Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson about his signature on the memorandum order for the release of Sanchez, Faeldon admitted that it was his. But he tried to wiggle out of the situation by insisting that it was merely “to start the process for the release of Sanchez.” There was “no official release order yet,” he said.

I don’t know what was in the mind of Faeldon when he employed this lousy play of rhetoric. From where I stand, the document was enough to set Sanchez free from prison. It was only a matter of a few procedural steps before the rapist-murderer obtained his freedom once more. Had it not been for the public uproar that met the news about the impending liberty of Sanchez, the misdeed would have been accomplished.

The fact that the release of Sanchez was aborted did not mitigate things for Faeldon.

He admitted that several Chinese drug convicts were already released from prison, only to be detained by the Bureau of Immigration. Upon questioning from Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, Faeldon said he was the one who signed the release order. He also ordered the release of the convicted rapists and murderers of the Chiong sisters in Cebu back in the 90s.

My instinct tells me there is corruption involved in these release orders under the good conduct time allowance law. Most of the personalities involved are moneyed, and I am almost sure a handsome pay-off was made to fast-track the issuance of the release orders.

But even if no corruption was involved, Faeldon showed poor judgment that made him unworthy to hold the position of Director-General of the Bureau of Corrections. The least he could have done was consult with the Department of Justice. If the DOJ gave a green light, then Faeldon could wash his hands and say that he did it in good faith. Under the circumstances, good faith is much lacking in his actions.