In an in-your-face rebuff of Faeldon critics, Duterte says he still trusts sacked BuCor chief
NAGA CITY, Cebu —President Rodrigo Duterte continued to send mixed messages on Nicanor Faeldon just hours after announcing he was firing the former military rebel as head of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
On Friday (Sept. 6), Duterte said he still trusts Faeldon despite the former military officer’s involvement in scandals—in the Bureau of Customs and at BuCor.
“I still believe in him (Faeldon),” said Duterte in a statement that would surely disappoint those calling on the President not to appoint Faeldon again to another government position.
The President said it was Faeldon who gave information to him about smuggled cigarettes which led to the government earning P37 billion, apparently referring to the crackdown on shuttered tobacco company Mighty Corp.
In May 2017, Faeldon, who was then the Customs commissioner, drew flak after P6.4 billion worth of shabu went past the BOC and into a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
At the BuCor, where Faeldon was appointed after he was relieved from duty at the BOC, the former military officer found himself in the middle of a firestorm over release of heinous crime convicts over questionable computations of good conduct time.
Duterte, however, appeared to go soft on Faeldon over the release of heinous crime inmates.
He said he, too, had pardoned convicts or commuted their sentences.
He said despite the latest scandal involving Faeldon, he still believed the former military rebel was an “upright man.”
Duterte stopped short of announcing a new position for Faeldon.
But in the audience were the parents of rape-slay victims Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong whose rapists and killers were among those released recently due to good conduct time.
The Chiong couple traveled 20 km to Naga City to personally thank Duterte for firing Faeldon and ordering the capture of inmates released earlier.
But they were barred from entering the tent where the President spoke because their names were not on the list of people allowed entry.
Interviewed by Inquirer, Thelma, mother of the Chiong sisters, said she wanted to personally thank Duterte “from the bottom of my heart” for ordering the rearrest of released convicts, including those involved in the Chiong sisters’ rape and murder.
“A thorn has been removed from my heart,” said Thelma.
After the President spoke, however, the Chiong couple had already left.
Three of the seven young men who convicted of the rape and murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu City in 1997 had been released by Faeldon for good conduct—Jasman Aznar, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Cano.
The seven convicts were sentenced to death in 2004, but then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo commuted their sentences to life terms in 2006 after she abolished capital punishment.
At a Senate hearing last Monday, Faeldon admitted that the three convicts in the Chiong case were among those released from prison./tsb
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