SEN. Richard Gordon on Friday said he would compel former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to present himself before the Senate probe on smuggling and explain his side, or else be detained.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, on Thursday cited Faeldon in contempt for snubbing the investigation on the smuggling of P6.4 billion shabu from China. Faeldon said he would no longer attend any congressional inquiry.
“That’s defiance. That’s why he will have to go to incarceration and there are many decisions of the Supreme Court that the Senate or any legislative body is well within its duty and rights to incarcerate somebody who will be uncooperative specially since he is the one principally in charge of Customs (when the shabu smuggling took place,” he said.
Faeldon stood his ground on Friday, saying he would rather go to jail than face “grandstanding” senators and representatives.
“I won’t (attend the hearings) even if it will take years for me to stay in jail until this is resolved. I don’t care,” Faeldon told reporters at his residence in Taytay, Rizal.
On Friday, the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms informed Faeldon that if he wanted to communicate to Gordon, the latter’s line was open. There was no warrant of arrest for the embattled former customs chief.
But Faeldon said there was no need to talk to Gordon.
“On Monday I will go to the Senate and let myself be arrested. I will not attend the hearing. They can bodily carry me and have me seated there but still my position is not to participate,” he added.
Gordon said Faeldon could be jailed in the Senate, the Pasay City Jail, or the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
“He should answer because there are serious allegations against him. And I can assure him, and I’m sure Senate President [Aquilino] Pimentel [III]will also assure him, that he will be allowed to speak, defend himself and explain himself,” he said.
Faeldon complained that Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes 4th have ruined his reputation and some of his men when they accused them of receiving bribe money from fixers or “players” at Customs to facilitate their shipments.
Gordon said Faeldon could have prepared a statement during Thursday’s public hearing denying the “irresponsible charges of Trillanes or irresponsible charges of Lacson.”
“Well, everybody knows that if you go to Customs there is that big, humongous temptation and it really happens. A lot of people said that there is indeed tara (payoff for some people at Customs),” he said.
“In fairness to Mr. Faeldon, I have not seen anything against him except negligence or command responsibility that’s why he has to explain his side. His only sin was he was way over his head. At pinalibutan siya ng mga sawa duon sa Customs (And he was surrounded by snakes at Customs),” Gordon said.
WITH WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL