NICANOR Faeldon stepped down as head of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Thursday, hours after he was sacked by President Rodrigo Duterte amid public outrage over the early release of heinous crime convicts.
Faeldon’s lawyer, Jose Diño Jr., posted a photo of Faeldon saying goodbye to his staff on early Thursday.
“His final words to his staff — ‘[D]o not cry, do not be sad, we were gifted with an opportunity to serve our country. Not everyone is given the gift to serve our country and people,’” Faeldon’s legal team shared on Twitter.
“My commander in chief/appointing authority has spoken. I am a marine, and a marine does as he is told. I most humbly bow to my commander in chief’s order without any hard feelings,” Faeldon said shortly after the President announced his sacking.
The former Marine came under fire after announcing that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez was among thousands of convicts who would be released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said charges must be filed against Faeldon for violating the GCTA Law.
The veteran senator accused Faeldon of lying to evade accountability over the botched release of Sanchez, who was sentenced to seven life terms in 1999 for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez.
“Faeldon was caught lying through his teeth. He tried to deceive the Senate and the public. He lied over and over again to evade accountability,” Drilon said.
“His name has become synonymous with incompetence. His actions clearly exhibited gross inexcusable negligence and willful misconduct, if not corruption,” he added.
Drilon said Faeldon lied when he said he stopped the early release of Sanchez, when, in fact, he admitted under oath that he signed a memorandum order for Sanchez’s early release.
“The President’s decision confirmed what the public already knew: that Faeldon lied and weaved alibis under oath to exculpate himself,” he said.
Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros said the President’s move to fire Faeldon “is not enough.”
The senator said Faeldon and Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo must be held accountable for violating the GCTA Law.
She said Faeldon’s dismissal “is fair.”
“However, this is not enough. President Duterte cannot fire his officials and expect the public to simply forget and move on,” Hontiveros said.
She cited Section 6 of Republic Act 10592 or the “GCTA Law,” which penalizes public officers who violate the act “with a fine, permanent disqualification from public office and even imprisonment.”
Hontiveros said Panelo should also be investigated.
“He acted in a preferential way that benefited convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez. He reportedly met with the Sanchez family twice in Malacañang, and even used his position to refer Sanchez’s request for clemency to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole. No wonder Sanchez almost got out,” she added.
On Thursday, a convict released under the GCTA Law surrendered to the police in Pasay City.
Metro Police chief Guillermo Eleazar said Nicanor Paz, who was imprisoned for illegal drugs trade, showed up at the Pasay City Police Station at 3 p.m.
Paz was convicted on June 3, 1993 and meted life imprisonment. He was released from the Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Davao del Norte on July 11 this year.
Another convict, Jesus Negro Jr., 50, surrendered to Cebu policemen on Wedneday, hours after President Duterte called on released convicts to turn themselves in.
Negro, who was convicted for eight counts of murder and frustrated murder, surrendered to the Bogo Police Station.
Negro served 30 years of his sentence at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). He was released on Aug. 9, 2018.
With a reports from Bernadette E. Tamayo, DARWIN PESCO and RHEA RUTH ROSELL