Believing he is doing a good job, Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon said he would not resign despite public outrage of an early prisoner release program that has freed almost 2,000 inmates convicted of heinous crimes.
At a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Faeldon was asked if he should step down, to which he replied, “I believe no.”
“Why? Do you believe you’re doing a good job?” asked Senator Risa Hontiveros.
“Yes, ma’am,” Faeldon replied.
READ: GCTA: Faeldon's failure?
When Hontiveros said all they heard was the opposite of his claim and asked him point blank when he would resign, Faeldon said he would defer to the appointing authority, President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier, Hontiveros cited irregularities in the implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance law under Faeldon’s watch, saying the system was corrupted by the preferential treatment of wealthy and influential inmates such as former mayor Antonio Sanchez, a convicted rapist and murderer who was scheduled for early release on Aug. 20 before public outrage scuttled the plan.
At the hearing, Faeldon admitted signing a memo order recommending Sanchez’s release but insisted it was not an official release order.
“I did not sign the order to officially release Sanchez,” Faeldon said.
He said the memorandum order started the processing of all the papers for the release of Sanchez and the other inmates.
Senators took turns questioning the release of Sanchez, arguing that he was ineligible for a good conduct release since he was convicted of heinous crimes and had committed drug-related crimes while incarcerated at the New Bilibid Prison’s maximum security compound.
Senator Panfilo Lacson confronted Faeldon on the signatures appearing in documents related to the release of Sanchez and the other inmates.
Although he confirmed his signatures, Faeldon said he only signed a memorandum for release, not a release order for Sanchez.
That order was recalled and Sanchez’s release was stopped, he said.
“That order [Aug. 20] was recalled by me, we stopped the process of release. I stopped it because I need to review again the GCTA granted to him... after the strong objection of the legal officer,” Faeldon said.
Lacson said a memorandum of release, signed for Faeldon by Technical Chief Supt. Maria Fe Marquez, were issued for Alberto Caño, Ariel Balansag, and Josman Aznar who were convicted for the 1997 abduction, rape, and killing of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in Cebu.
Faeldon admitted that the three have already been released and said three others convicted of the same crime had died in jail.
“Well, that’s the same. The release order for Sanchez was stopped only because of the public uproar, but in this case, this one got away because this was dated four days before the release order signed by you in favor of Antonio Sanchez,” Lacson said.
Faeldon first said he could not remember ordering the convicts’ release.
But Lacson told him that a memorandum for release of the three convicts was signed on his behalf by Faeldon by Marquez.
READ: Senate wringer awaits Faeldon
“This was signed by Ma. Fe Marquez. This is the release order in the case of Chiong sisters rape case. Question: Have been they released?” Lacson asked Faeldon, noting the case was as gruesome as Sanchez’s rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of thier friend Allan Gomez.
The Chiong sisters were kidnapped near a mall in Cebu in 1997. The body of one of them was found thrown in a ravine while the body of the other was never found.
Caño, Balansag, Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, James Anthony Uy and James Andrew Uy were convicted of kidnapping, illegal detention, rape, and homicide. They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua in 1999. The Supreme Court raised this to the death penalty in 2004, but the sentence was superseded by the abolition of capital punishment in 2006.
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