Faeldon admits not seeking DOJ nod on prisoners’ release
MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon admitted on Tuesday that he did not seek approval from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in releasing heinous crime convicts because he was not aware of a department order that required it.
Faeldon made the admission at the Senate hearing on the implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had been pressing him on whether he sought for the approval of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra before releasing heinous crime convicts, including three men convicted for the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters in Cebu.
Department Order No. 953, Drilon explained, high-risk convicts could not be released without the approval of the justice secretary.
The order was issued in November 2015 by then-Justice Secretary Alfredo Caguioa.
Faeldon said he could not “remember requesting clearance of releases of any PDL [person deprived of liberty] to the department.”
“You have not remembered seeking clearance for any of the 816 instances when you ordered the release of prisoners convicted of heinous crimes?” Drilon prodded Faeldon.
“Yes, your honor,” the BuCor chief said.
Faeldon explained that he was not made aware of the said department order when he assumed office in 2018.
“The Department Oder 953 was practically not familiar with me. I was not even apprised of that department order by anybody in the Bureau of Corrections in my entire stay there,” he said.
He said it was his head executive assistance that informed him of the order.
However, Drilon reminded Faeldon that “ignorance of the law excuses no one.”
“Unfortunately, the written document indicates that you are aware of this Order 953 and that requires specific clearance of the Secretary of Justice,” the senator said.
Drilon was referring to a memorandum signed by Faeldon on the release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan in Laguna.
“Now you are trying [to say] you are not aware of Department Order 953,” Drilon went on.
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