LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Police arrested the son of Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon and 3 others in a drug operation in Naga City, Camarines Sur, on Friday, December 14.
Bicol Regional Director Chief Superintendent Arnel Escobal said in a spot report that police found Nicanor Faeldon Jr and two others in the house of drug suspect Russel Bermudo Lanuzo, a 47-year-old businessman who was the subject of a search warrant that cops served on the latter at 5 am on Friday.
Senior Superintendent Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP regional spokesperson, said 7 pieces of heat-sealed plastic sachets with suspected shabu were found in Lanuzo’s house.
“Our cops were implementing a search warrant against [Lanuzo]...when 3 other persons were nabbed that resulted [in] the arrest of the...subjects,” she said.
Calubaquib said aside from Lanuzo and Faeldon, the two others who were in the house at the time of the operation were Allan Valdez, 44, of Sampaloc, Manila; and Naga resident Manuel Nebres, 39.
The operation was carried out by a joint team of the Naga City Police Drug Enforcement Unit, Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Naga Station Drug Enforcement Unit.
Responding to questions, Escobal said: 'Yung Russel Bermudo [Lanuzo] ang subject [of the search warrant and arrest]. Parang nagkataon na during the implementation, nandoon si Faeldon Jr (Russel Bermudo [Lanuzo] is the subject [of the search warrant and arrest]. It just so happened that during the implementation, Faeldon Jr was there)."
Photo from Naga City Police Station
Jose Diño Jr, the BuCor chief’s spokesperson and legal counsel, said in a phone patch interview with Camp Crame reporters that Faeldon had yet to talk to his son and that he first got information about the incident from news reports.
'Let the ax fall where it may'
Diño said Faeldon lauded the police who made the arrest since the campaign against illegal drugs is the centrepiece program of the Duterte administration.
“Lahat ng effort ng kapulisan, PDEA, PNP, NBI ay sinusuportahan po niya kahit masangkot kahit sinuman, anak niya, kapatid.... Basta anti-drugs, sinusuportahan niya po ‘yun (He supports all the efforts of the police, PDEA, PNP, NBI regardless of who gets arrested, whether his child or sibling. He supports anti-drug operations),” Diño said.
Responding to questions, Diño said Faeldon “would never” take the initiative of calling the police first to ask about the case.
“Hinding-hindi po niya gagawin kasi po baka mamisinterpret nang pangingialam or worse, mamprepressure o mang-impluwensiya…. Let the ax fall where it may (He will never do that because it might be misinterpreted as meddling or worse, exerting pressure or influence…. Let the ax fall where it may),” he said.
Diño said Faeldon was aware that his son was in Naga City, and that the last time his son sent him a text message was a month ago. Diño said Faeldon Jr had informed his father that he would go back to school at the Ateneo de Naga.
He added that Faeldon Jr did not live with his father and was raised by his mother, Faeldon’s ex-wife. As far his father knew, Faeldon Jr had no vices, and did not even smoke.
“Sabi ni DG eh ‘yan raw ‘pong si Junior ay walang bisyo. Ni sigarilyo raw po ay 'di siya naninigarilyo kaya daw po takang-taka siya kung bakit raw masasangkot sa ganyan (The Director General said Junior has no vices. He doesn't even smoke, that's why he's puzzled as to how he could get involved in something like that)," Diño said.
Diño also cited photos of Faeldon Jr in the latest news reports.
“Malinis ‘yung itsura ng bata, maganda ang pangangatawan. In short, di siya portrait ng user, much more na pusher. Eh in any event, kung ano po ang imbestigayon ng pulis, gagalangin po namin, rerespestuhin namin (The kid looks clean, he is well-built. In short, he’s not the portrait of a user, much more a pusher. In any event, we will respect the findings of the police investigation)," he said.
In a statement, President Spokesperson Salvador Panel said, “We assure that there will be no whitewash on the ongoing investigation in adherence with the Administration's firm resolve to curb illegal drugs in the country.”
Malacañang also lauded Faeldon “for taking a principled stand of distancing himself from the investigation, for letting police authorities do the job of probing said incident, and for offering to resign once the allegation is proven true.” – with reports from Rambo Talabong, Pia Ranada/Rappler.com