As an ex-Marine captain who slept in the jungle rain or shine, former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon is not complaining about his detention cell at the Senate—in fact, in his own words, it’s lodging “fit for a colonel.”
Faeldon—who chose detention instead of grilling in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in protest for being implicated in smuggling and bribery—is in “high spirits” and is re-reading books written by Gandhi, said his lawyer Jose Dino.
“Let us remember friends that once a Marine, always a Marine. He eats once every four days. He sleeps in the jungle, rain or shine. So, the Senate detention, to him that’s nothing. It’s a very small price to pay for a message,” he told reporters by phone.
Faeldon voluntarily surrendered to the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Monday after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee cited him in contempt last week for his refusal to attend the investigation into the alleged smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China in May.
The former Bureau of Customs chief has denounced Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes 4th for accusing him, without enough evidence, of involvement in the “tara” (payoff) system and smuggling.
“There were some senators, I won’t mention their names, who visited and who encouraged him to ‘keep the good fight.’ He’s doing good. He was being treated nicely in his detention room. We cannot complain,” Dino said.
The Senate Sergeant at Arms, however, on Tuesday barred non-family members from visiting Faeldon.
“We gave him note pads. I told him, ‘Better write your memoir.’ He was re-reading Gandhi books. I told him, ‘Sir, I cannot leave you here.’ He told me, ‘Attorney, you don’t know me. He said, ‘I can take care of myself,’” Dino said.
Faeldon will not submit even a judicial affidavit to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to explain his side, as he does not want to participate in any way in the probe, Dino said.
“That would be still part of the proceedings. We are impugning the very proceedings of which Captain Faeldon is being made to appear. If you file a judicial affidavit you are still submitting yourself to the jurisdiction and the processes of the Blue Ribbon Committee,” Dino said.
In his Facebook page on Monday, Faeldon posted a video message reiterating his reason for not attending any congressional inquiries.
“I am questioning the conduct of the senators and the congressmen during the congressional or Senate hearings, in aid of legislation. Under the rules they have set themselves above the law because they can do, they can say whatever they want, even to the point of maligning, condemning, crucifying innocent resource person, thereby, violating the basic constitutionally guaranteed rights of innocent citizens of this country,” Faeldon said.
“That’s why under these circumstances the senators and congressmen have set themselves above the law. Common sense, it says this is wrong. So, let’s put a stop to this that’s why I opted to be detained. This is a sign of protest,” he said.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, said Faeldon’s continued refusal to cooperate with the probe on smuggling was his “own lookout.”
“I can only tell them that they should not defy the contempt order. There is no reason for him not to appear, except that he is concerned about some senators,” he told reporters by phone.