Faeldon tried to realign P1-billion BuCor budget to Mindoro prison

Lian Buan
'We heard that he (Nicanor Faeldon) was interested in running for an election post in Mindoro. Certainly, to request to realign P1 billion to Sablayan detention facilities in Mindoro becomes suspect,' says Senator Franklin Drilon

REALIGNMENT. Sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon attempted to realign P1 billion to the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Mindoro, where he was earlier rumored to run for governor. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon tried to realign P1 billion meant for regional prisons in 2019 to the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro, the Senate floor deliberations on the 2020 budget revealed on Wednesday, November 20.

Faeldon previously said his wife’s house is in Mindoro. President Rodrigo Duterte also earlier said Faeldon was thinking of running for Mindoro governor.

“He wanted it to be realigned to Sablayan, Mindoro, his home province. That’s terrible,” said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday.

Drilon was interpellating Senator Juan Edgardo Angara as the sponsor for the P22.022-billion budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for 2020. Drilon was inquiring into the P1-billion allocation from 2019 that was meant to go to the construction and rehabilitation of penal colonies in Palawan, Leyte, Davao, Zamboanga, and the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW).

Drilon was miffed upon finding out that the P1 billion still has not been released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“Director General Faeldon even wrote the committee asking for the realignment, but we informed him it’s not proper for him to do that because it’s already part of the, it’s a line item in the General Appropriations Act. To realign that item, we would need an amendment [to] the law – that was our response,” said Angara, the chairman of the Senate finance committee.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he was not aware of Faeldon’s request.

“I just came to know about this today,” said Guevarra, who promised that he will officially withdraw Faeldon’s letter to the Senate and pursue the release of the budget from the DBM.

Realignment request ‘suspect’

Drilon said that while the request for realignment was not illegal, it was improper, seeing that Faeldon’s plan to run for Mindoro governor was floated for the May 2019 elections.

“At that time, before the last election, we heard that he was interested in running for an election post in Mindoro. Certainly, to request to realign P1 billion to Sablayan detention facilities in Mindoro becomes suspect,” said Drilon.

Faeldon was sacked by Duterte following the Good Conduct Time Allowance controversy that nearly freed convicted murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez, and also exposed other corruption schemes inside the New Bilibid Prison.

The BuCor has a P4.244-billion allocation in the DOJ’s overall P20-billion budget.

Angara said they added P100 million to the BuCor to address health problems inside prisons, as one prisoner is dying a day inside Bilibid with only 4 physicians attending to them. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.