President Rodrigo Duterte said he is no longer keen on reappointing sacked Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon to another post, while Senator Ronald dela Rosa said he is willing to be slapped repeatedly in public if it is shown that he was involved in corruption when he headed the bureau.
In an interview with GMA News Monday night, the President said he does not see Faeldon, a former military man, as a dishonest official.
“He has had enough of controversies in the last few years. But I don’t believe he is dishonest,” Duterte said.
The President fired Faeldon Sept. 4 over the scandal involving the early release of heinous crime convicts due to ambiguous interpretations on the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.
He said Faeldon disobeyed his orders not to release the heinous crime convicts over supposed good conduct.
The loopholes in the law and its implementing rules and regulations were revealed following the public backlash over the near release of convicted murderer-rapist Antonio Sanchez.
Despite this, President Duterte said Friday he still believes in Faeldon and recalled how the former Marine captain exposed Mighty Corp. for faking tax stamps.
These remarks drew the ire of some critics and stunned the families of heinous crimes victims.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Tuesday the President told him that Faeldon will not be reappointed.
Faeldon used to be the Bureau of Customs chief but he stepped down after millions of pesos worth of shabu or crystal meth slipped through the ports. He was later reappointed to the Department of National Defense-Office of Civil Defense as deputy administrator and then later as BuCor chief.
In the interview, Duterte also reiterated his call for convicts who were released early due to the GCTA to surrender.
“I won’t put you [in] jail. I’m just asking you to come back, have your sentence recomputed and if you fall within the category of those who will be released, you can go,” Duterte said.
“For the heinous crimes, well, let me think about it. Either I set you free or I’ll drop you there in the Pasig River,” he added.
The Chief Executive gave them 15 days to turn themselves in.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Dela Rosa said he was ready to be slapped “in front of the public, not only once, left and right.”
“You slap me if I did corruption,” the former BuCor and Philippine National Police chief said.
De la Rosa, who quit as BuCor chief when he ran for senator in the last May elections, also said he is ready to be investigated over the alleged widespread corruption in the bureau,.
“When I said I want to be investigated, I don’t think I want it. But when you said ready to be investigated, I’m ready anytime. I’m not hiding anything,” he said.
“My conscience is clear,” he added.
During his stint in the bureau from May to October 2018, Dela Rosa said he signed the release orders of 120 heinous crimes convicts based on the GCTA law.
The release of convicts through the GCTA Law is now the subject of the Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice committee hearings sparked by the near release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.
“Why pin the blame on us? We are just implementing the law?” Dela Rosa said.
“It is the chef instead of the waiter who would be liable for a bad-tasting meal,” he added.
Meanwhile, Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard J. Gordon said the Senate hearings exposed Faeldon’s lack of knowledge about his job and said he did not exert due diligence to make up for his deficiency.
“He didn’t know the law; he didn’t care. It’s very clear, that at the very least, Faeldon doesn’t know his job. He is required to know the job,” he said.
Questioned by Gordon, Faeldon admitted he was not aware of Department of Justice Order No. 953 prior to its mention during the second hearing.
The order requires the BuCor to clear the release of convicts serving life sentences with the Department of Justice.