Panelo on Faeldon: Just 'outwitted' by corrupt BuCor officials
MANILA, Philippines – Axed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon was likely just outwitted by corrupt lower-ranking officials in the agency, said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Monday, September 9.
This was how he attempted to reconcile President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial declaration of trust in Faeldon despite firing him for "disobeying" his order on the release of heinous crime convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
"Personal 'yung kanyang tingin doon. Ibig sabihin, hindi siya involved. Kung baga, para sa Customs, napalusutan siya, na naman," said Panelo in a Malacañang news briefing.
(It was his personal opinion. Meaning, he [Faeldon] was not involved. Like in Custons, he was just outfoxed, again.)
Before his stint in the BuCor, Faeldon was head of the Bureau of Customs. During his time there, officials in the agency were accused of conniving with smugglers to bring P6.4-billion worth of shabu into the Philippines.
Faeldon was removed from his post but transferred by Duterte to the Office of Civil Defense, a move slammed by critics as reeking of special treatment and contradictory to the President's avowed intolerance for corruption.
Panelo on Monday said Faeldon likely got duped by BuCor officials who had been in the agency a long time and knew how to get away with bribing or blackmailing prisoners or their families.
"Eh mahihirapan din naman, kasi yung mga tao din, ever since panahon, pa ng dating administrasyon, dati pa nila ginagawa yun….Kahit sinong ilagay mo doon, kung dati na silang magagaling doon, eh talagang mapapalusutan ka nga," said Panelo.
(Anyone would have a hard time there because the people there have been into corruption ever since, even during the time of previous administrations... Whoever you put there, if the people there are good at skirting things, you will really get outwitted.)
Faeldon, in a September 5 Senate hearing, claimed he did not know of an alleged payment scheme in which BuCor officials would ask for payment from prisoners' relatives in exchange for their early release.
By saying Faeldon may have been merely outfoxed by lower-ranking BuCor officials, Panelo appears to be supporting his claims.
Yet in the same press conference, Duterte's spokesman acknowledged that there are ongoing investigations by the Office of the Ombudsman and Congress and that any conclusion made on Faeldon's involvement in corruption is "premature."
"The guilt of Mr Faeldon, whether administrative or criminal, will depend on the investigation, Senate and Ombudsman," he said.
Duterte would respect the conclusions made by these two bodies, said Panelo.
Asked what it is about Faeldon that convinces Duterte he is trustworthy, Panelo said, "His honesty."
The spokesman also said it is mere "speculation" for critics to say Duterte will reappoint Faeldon once more. He said, so far, the President has not done so. – Rappler.com