(SEPTEMBER 4, 2019) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday fired Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon, amid alleged irregularities in the implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law on inmates.
Duterte called a news conference on Wednesday evening to put an end to the controversy surrounding the law allowing the release of high-profile inmates.
“Yes. Now,” was the President’s reply to a query regarding Faeldon’s fate. He ordered the sacking a few minutes after he called for Faeldon’s resignation in the same speech.
“I am demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately,” he told. “Faeldon has to go because he disobeyed my order.”
Faeldon has been in the hot seat following the supposed impending release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez due to good conduct. The release was halted after sparking public uproar.
The BuCor chief had admitted in a Senate inquiry that he signed an order that will start the processing of Sanchez’s release papers as a beneficiary of Republic Act No. 10592, which further lessen prison sentences based on good conduct in prison.
This, despite several reports of violations by Sanchez as a prisoner since 1995.
Prior to being appointed BuCor chief, Faeldon served as the Bureau of Customs commissioner, where billions worth of illegal drugs slipped past the agency. Faeldon was also involved in two mutinies as a rebel soldier.
Duterte also called for all heinous crimes convicts which became beneficiaries of the law to surrender and have themselves registered back with the BuCor.
“I will give you 15 days of liberty, provided you make yourself available anytime that you will be called for investigation to have a recomputation, or if there’s an investigation of corruption that you cooperate,” the President said.
BuCor data showed that of the 22,049 prisoners covered by RA 10592 who had been granted early freedom since 2014, 1,914 were convicted of heinous crimes.
Duterte said if the convicts don’t cooperate, they will be considered fugitives from justice and will be treated as criminals evading the law.
“If I were you, mag-surrender na kayo sa nearest police or military dettachment wherever you are now,” Duterte said, before assuring he will take responsibility for any consequences connected with his decision.
Duterte also ordered the Ombudsman to investigate all BuCor officials involved in the releasing process of inmates.
While they are not yet suspended, Duterte said the officials should report to him and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
“In the meantime, I will not suspend them, but they will be investigated. Diretso na ito sa Ombudsman. This is a prima facie case. There’s an admission that they were remiss in their duties,” he said. “As a former prosecutor, tama na ‘yun. That would establish the prima facie.” (Randell Ritumalta/JMF)