THREE senators on Wednesday expressed alarm over the plan of Sen. Richard Gordon to release former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon who was detained by the Senate for his refusal to testify on the smuggling scandal at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Senators Panfilo Lacson, Antonio Trillanes 4th and Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th said Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that is investigating the smuggling of P6.4 billion shabu from China, cannot decide unilaterally on Faeldon’s release.
The panel cited Faeldon in contempt on Sept. 7 after he snubbed its invitation to attend the investigation to protest to the allegations of Lacson and Trillanes that he is involved in smuggling.
The former Marine captain opted to be detained at the Senate rather than testify.
“If that is his position I will send him home but he would be under contempt. Di mo naman mapipilit ‘yan (You cannot force him). But it might be a bad precedent. So, my own feeling about that is that he is hurt. He is hurting and he is not used to being criticized and that is wrong,” Gordon said.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said it is up to Gordon whether to send Faeldon home.
“It’s up to chairman Gordon but remember the issued subpoena to him was to come here and testify and not just come here and wave your hand,” Pimentel said.
“I don’t know if he was misquoted but if he really said that, my comment is, wow. The point is, we are a collegial body at the Senate. Just like the committee, it’s a collegial body,” Lacson said. “It’s the chairman who presides but he is not the only one who decides on what to do. That’s why we course a proposal or the needed decision through a motion.”
“And when it comes to citing anyone in contempt, detaining and releasing anyone cited in contempt, the SP (Senate President) is involved in making the final approval,” he added.
Trillanes agreed with Lacson.
“Sen. Gordon cannot do that because the order to have Mr. Faeldon detained was given by the committee. The entire committee will decide. It’s not a unilateral decision,” Trillanes said.
“You have been invited by the Senate. We have a rule here. If you want to uphold the independence of the Senate, he cannot be sent home just like that,” Aquino said.