Duterte fires Faeldon, orders 1,700 convicts freed due to GCTA to surrender
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the immediate resignation of Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon Jr over the implementation of the controversial good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) law.
Duterte also warned at least 1,700 convicts who were granted freedom due to the GCTA to surrender or be killed.
This was announced by Duterte in a press briefing he held at Malacanang after his cabinet session.
“I decided late last night and my orders are one, that I am demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately. Second, that I am calling for an investigation to be handled by the Ombudsman,” Duterte said.
Duterte said Faeldon disobeyed his order on the release of inmates which were granted freedom under the GCTA.
“Faeldon has to go because Faeldon disobeyed my order,” he said.
Duterte said on August 21, he ordered Senator Bong Go to call Faeldon and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to give his directive there should not releasse until further orders by higher authority.
“If he only followed me then there will be no problem… he should have echoed my order to him… higher authority could only mean (Executive Secretary) Salvador Medialdea, (Secretary) Guevarra and the president,” he said.
“What he did is he tried to justify their computation which may be correct but the problem is there is a fire burning. If the president said you wait until further notice that means I will investigate then make the decision… if he only said what I said then there is no problem,” he added.
Duterte said he is firing Faeldon, who he removed as the Bureau of Customs commissioner in 2017 over the entry of P6.4 billion worth of shabu.
“Because he said he was placing his destiny on my hands. Now is the time since he violated my instruction,” he said.
Duterte also ordered all officials who are part of the committee who granted the release to report to him and to Guevarra.
“In the meantime, I will not suspend them but they will be investigated. It will directed to Ombudsman,” he said.
Duterte ordered least 1,700 convicts who were released to return to the fold and undergo recomputation of the good conduct time allowance.
“Then I would address myself on those who were released… you surrender and have yourself register with the Bureau of Corrections. I will give you 15 days liberty provided you make yourself available anytime that you will be called for an investigation to have a recomputation or if there is an investigation of corruption,” he said.
“If you do not, beginning at these hours, you are a fugitive from justice and you will be treated as criminal… things can go wrong. If I were you, you surrender to the nearest police station or military detachment wherever you are now,” he added.
Duterte said he will just order the police and military to hunt down the released inmates. He added that he will take full responsibility on the consequences of his decision.
“Because I don’t need a warrant. I will just order them and I will take full responsibility for this and all consequences connected with this decision will be mine and mine alone. I am ready to be investigated, I am ready for an impeachment, and I am ready to resign if warranted but that is my decision… so anybody acting upon my orders will be treated in good faith,” he said.
Citing Guevarra, Duterte said those who were released based on wrong interpretation or faulty construction of the law can be arrested anytime.
“Because you have to serve your sentence fully as the order is null and void,” he said.
“As I said no need for affidavits because the records will show that there has been a wrong committed and maybe corruption given the propensity of the 1,700 including the killer of Chiong sisters and (Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio) Sanchez,” he added.
Duterte lso offered one million for anyone who can arrest the released inmates.
“I told (Finance Secretary Carlos) Dominguez if he has money as I would need about P1.7 billion… one million per head dead or alive… re-arrest for all and the military and police. Maybe three days I’ll decide if I’ll put up (a reward)… if you died much better then we don’t need to feed you,” he said.
Duterte said he is not involved in the release of the suspects in the Chiong sisters case and he also defended his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo.
“I would like to address myself also to those relatives that are grieving until now. Ma'm, Mrs. Thelma Chiong… It was not my law and it was implemented not during my time, it was started and it went on without a clear cut policy or direction even on the law itself on who will sign or who will grant with finality those who are enjoying liberty now,” he said.
“What Panelo did, it is not his fault that- that’s lawyering, that’s his job… when it came to him (the clemency letter) he referred it to the proper entity… Panelo did not commit any infraction or he (just) happened to be a lawyer that time. Nobody but nobody can question us, lawyers… what Panelo did is right, just a referral,” he explained.
Duterte said he does not talk to his cabinet members or through phone when it comes to state matters.
“I summon cabinet members. I don’t talk to them,” he said.
Duterte added he is sure that Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, who was BuCor chief when the inmates were released, will be ready to face an investigation.
“I am sure he would be ready to submit himself,” he said.
If there is a need to change the implementation of rules and regulations, Duterte said the DOJ will take care of that with coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He also said the DILG and the Department of National Defense are present during his press briefing as he will be using the might of government in tracking the released inmates.
“I requested national security adviser (Hermogenes Esperon Jr), DND, DILG because I’m ordering- it’s not easy to look for 1,700 (inmates). I said the enormity of the number is too scary to be handle by the police,” said Duterte.
Based on the data of BuCor, a total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2014 because of GCTA.
The issue started when it was reported that Sanchez the mastermind behind the killing of two University of the Philippines-Los Banos student will be released because of his good behavior while inside New Bilibid Prison. Ella Dionisio/DMS