Faeldon asks SC to order his release from Senate

MANILA, Philippines – Resigned customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) asking it to nullify the Senate's arrest order against him, and to release him from detention.

Faeldon requested for an immediate release order from the SC in a petition filed on January 22 and released to media on Monday, January 29.

The Senate blue ribbon committee held Faeldon in contempt for refusing to attend the upper house's investigation into the scandal at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which allowed a P6.4-billion shabu shipment to be smuggled from China. The committee detained him inside the Senate premises in September.

Faeldon's petition was filed against Senator Richard Gordon as the chairman of the blue ribbon committee and Major Geberal Joise Balajadia Jr as the Senate sergeant at arms.

Faeldon called the investigation a "persecution-in-aid of media mileage and grandstanding," and said it was "simply too much for me to bear."

Gordon's 'threats'

Faeldon said Gordon's staff told him to "write an apology" or "beg" the senator.

"The Petitioner remembered from his 'visitors' in those 3 visits were the words, phrases and threats that uttered, iterated, and reiterated to him: 'the Chairman has to look good before the public,' 'mabubulok ka dito, ikaw rin (you'll rot here, it's up to you),' and 'he might even send you to Pasay City Jail or Muntinlupa,'" Faeldon said in his petition.

Faeldon added: "Said visits were not only unethical but also illegal, as the 'visitors' were lawyers, who, without the presence the petitioners' lawyers, tried to cajole the petitioner to execute and sign a letter which was acceptable to the Chairman, referring to Respondent Senator Gordon."

Faeldon said he handwrote a letter to Gordon but only to reiterate his offer to reply to the committee's questions in the form of a notarized affidavit. "Said letter was not even acknowledged let alone replied to," Faeldon said.

'Illegal'

Faeldon said the arrest order was issued without any legal basis and violated his right to due process.

Faeldon also hit Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson for being "obsessed" with him despite "failing to present even a single document to prove any and all of his malicious allegations." Lacson has filed a graft and economic sabotage complaint against Faeldon at the Office of the Ombudsman for a separate issue of rice smuggling.

Faeldon has been detained for more than 130 days. He has been re-appointed to a deputy administrator position at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in December by President Rodrigo Duterte, but the Senate did not release him.

"With his continuing illegal detention, the Department of National Defense-OCD and the country is left without a functioning responsible officer, and the effects, thereof, are simply unimaginable," Faeldon said.

Faeldon has been cleared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on drug importation charges related to the shabu shipment, but the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is appealing the dismissal. 

He is the subject of a separate investigation by an Ombudsman panel. – 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.

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