President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night fired Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon for “disobeying” his order not to allow the release of nearly 2,000 heinous crimes convicts supposedly eligible under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
“I am demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately. Second, that I am calling for an investigation to be handled by the Ombudsman,” Duterte said in a televised press briefing in Malacañang.
Asked to clarify if his call for Faeldon’s resignation meant he was firing the Bucor chief, Duterte said: “Yes.”
“Faeldon has to go because Faeldon disobeyed my order,” Duterte said, referring to his instruction to Senator Christoper “Bong” Go to tell Faeldon to prohibit the release of the 1,900 heinous crimes convicts.
Duterte refused to say if he had completely lost his trust and confidence in Faeldon.
“That is a matter between me and Faeldon,” he said.
He also bared that he rejected Faeldon’s attempt to speak to him about the GCTA law.
“He should have echoed my order to him. No releases until further notice by higher authority. Higher authority,” he added, noting that public outcry prompted him to fire Faeldon.
However, instead of obeying his order, Duterte said Faeldon gave him a computation showing that the 1,900 heinous crimes convicts were eligible under the GCTA law.
“I said no releases but what he said was a computation. May apoy na nga e (There’s already a fire). I was trying to provide the fire extinguisher para wala na magduda yung tao (so that people would not suspect),” Duterte said.
“No releases. Eh kung sinabi niya yan di wala na sana (If he said that, there would have been no problem). Ang ginawa niya (But what he did), he tried to justify ang computation nila (their computation) which may be correct by the way,” he added.
The President said while Faeldon’s computation based on the GCTA law could be correct, his no-release order was clear.
“The problem is there was a fire burning. Pag sinabi ng Presidente, hintay ka until further orders, ang ibig sabihin nun magimbistiga ako in a jiffy (When the President says wait until further orders, that means I’ll be investigating in a jiffy),” Duterte said.
“Ang problema niya, kinabukasan (His problem is, the next day) he came up with a statement with his own computation. Kung sinabi niya lang yung sinabi ko e di tapos na (If he just echoed what I said, there would not have been a problem),” he added.
Duterte said he has yet to decide on Faeldon’s replacement.
Meanwhile, Duterte ordered other BuCor officials and the committee responsible for allowing the release of the 1,700 heinous crimes convicts to report to him and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Although he will not order their suspension, Duterte said he will have them investigated under the Office of the Ombudsman.
“In the meantime, I will not suspend them but they will be investigated. Diretso na ito sa (But they will go straight to the) Ombudsman. This is a prima facie case. There’s an admission that they were remiss in their duties,” Duterte said.
Duterte also encouraged the 1,700 heinous crimes convicts to surrender to the nearest police or military stations within 15 days.
“Lahat nakulong at na-release sa batas na ito (All those jailed and released under this law), 1,900 of you, you surrender and have yourself registered with the BuCor,” Duterte said.
“I will give you 15 days 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 fully,” he added
He said all heinous crime convicts who have been released but refuse to surrender will be treated as fugitives.
“If you do not, then beginning at this hour, you are a fugitive from justice. And you will be treated as a criminal who is evading the law and well you know things can go wrong. If I were you, mag-surrender na kayo to the nearest police or military detachment wherever you are now,” he added.
Duterte said the released inmates with heinous crimes will be automatically barred from leaving the country. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)