Faeldon reappointment ‘still in the realm of speculation’: Palace

MANILA -- The supposed reappointment of sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon is still in the realm of speculation, MalacaAang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed as speculative concerns that President Rodrigo Duterte would reappoint Faeldon to another agency as he did in the past.

We're all speculating that he will be appointed to another position. The President has not done that, so premature lahat ng speculation (all speculations are premature), Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Panelo defended Duterte's trust in Faeldon despite disobeying his order to block heinous crimes convicts from being released under the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

The President knows Mr. Faeldon personally. And there have been experiences in the past that gave him the trust to him remaining until now, Panelo said citing how it was under Faeldon's watch that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized PHP3.2 billion worth of Mighty Corp. cigarettes with fake tax stamps in Bulacan.

If you haven't known it yet, he has repeatedly said, the smuggling of the Mighty Cigarette would not have been exposed if Mr. Faeldon kept quiet, he could have earned billions; because we were able to get about PHP37 billion out of that. So, I would suggest trust the President's words, he added.

Prior to being BuCor chief, Faeldon was deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), a disaster-response agency under the Department of National Defense (DND).

Before his OCD stint, he was BOC Commissioner, but resigned after being tagged in the PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the agency in May 2017.

'Slipped past'

Panelo explained that just like what happened with the shabu shipment at the BOC, Faeldon may not have been involved in corruption but may have unwittingly allowed the heinous crimes convicts to slip past the BuCor.

Ibig sabihin, hindi siya involved. Kumbaga parang sa Customs, napalusutan siya na naman. Eh, mahihirapan din naman kasi kung 'yung mga tao dun ever since, panahon pa ng ilang administrasyon dati na nilang ginagawa 'yun (It means Faeldon is not involved. For example, just like in the Customs, it slipped past him. But it has been happening even in previous administration), Panelo said.

Kahit sinong ilagay mo doon kung dati nang magagaling sila doon, talagang mapapalustan ka nga (Whoever you designate there, it's going to slip past you), he added.

The Palace official also insisted that Duterte looked up to Faeldon for his honesty.

Kasi nga hanga siya sa honesty ng mama (He admires the honesty of the man). In other words, he was thrown into a situation where he could have corrupted himself but he did not bite, Panelo said.

Panelo, however, said Duterte's perception on Faeldon or any other Cabinet member is subject to change without prior notice if there are circumstances that will alter his belief.

Kung mayroong ebidensya, lumalabas, oh di ibig sabihin iyong katapatan ni Mr. Faeldon at a particular time ay mukhang na-break on this particular instance. Until such time, hanggang hindi niya nakikita na na-break iyon, ang kaniyang paniniwala at pagtitiwala, nandoon pa iyon (If there is evidence that comes out, then that means Faeldon's loyalty at a particular time was broken. Until such a time, until the President does not see it being broken, his trust in Faeldon remains), the Palace official said.

Panelo said Faeldon's guilt, whether criminal or administrative, will depend on the result of the investigation and the recommendation of the inquiring body like the Senate and Ombudsman.

The President always respects the decision of independent bodies whether constitutional or not, even its own departments or agencies, Panelo said.

Despite Duterte's continued trust in Faeldon, Panelo believes that it would not influence the current ongoing Senate investigation in aid of legislation and investigation conducted at the Ombudsman.

That's a personal statement of the President because he knows him personally and the Ombudsman will never be influenced nor intimidated -- knowing the Ombudsman -- Ombudsman Sammy Martires. His reputation is solid. He will go about his work as the Constitution directs him to do, Panelo said.

'Di ba sinasabi na kahit may tiwala ka diyan kung when the investigation shows na nagkamali siya (Didn't he say before that even if the trusted an official, when investigation shows he was wrong). Kung (If) performance-wise, competence-wise, ibang usapan 'yan doon sa corruption (it's a different story when it involves corruption), he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency