Senate frees Faeldon from detention

MANILA The Senate on Monday ordered the release of former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon from detention after attending the resumption of the investigation into the PHP6.4 billion worth of smuggled shabu from China and committing to cooperate in succeeding hearings.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair Senator Richard Gordon signed the release papers of Faeldon, who was detained since September for refusing to participate in the probe.

During the hearing, Gordon asked Faeldon for his commitment to directly answer all questions from senators.

We will call you on your cognizance, that when we ask you a question there will be no more back-talking and you will answer the questions directly, Gordon said during the panel's hearing on Monday.

Yes your honor, Faeldon replied.

Do you commit to that? Gordon asked, to which Faeldon again answered Yes, your honor.

Alright, so the committee chair hereby orders your release from incarceration, Gordon said.

After being cited in contempt in September, Faeldon, now deputy administrator at the Office of Civil Defense, was first detained at the Senate but was later transferred to the Pasay City Jail for his alleged arrogance and continued defiance during the panel's last hearing on January 29.

Gordon told Faeldon that his detention was due to his earlier actuations, which the senator said was an affront to the Senate.

He also warned the former Customs chief that he could be again cited in contempt for any similar behavior in the future.

You did not disrespect me. You disrespect the Senate and I'm duty-bound to protect the Senate. On your own cognizance, on your own disciplinary actuations, you released yourself, and if you go beyond that, I will not hesitate to declare you in contempt again, he said.

So, on your say so, you are hereby released, subject to the fact that you will conduct yourself as we go on with the hearings when we need to. Is that understood? Gordon said.

To which Faeldon replied Yes, your honor.

Gordon assured fairness for all persons invited by his panel with regards to the shabu smuggling probe and urged for full cooperation in the next hearings.

He said that cooperating with his panel gives them the opportunity to clear their names and disabuse the minds of the public of their misperceptions.

Besides Faeldon, other Bureau of Customs officials and importers are under fire for the PHP6.4-billion shabu shipment in May 2017.

This committee tries to be fair. That's why this whole brouhaha over Captain Faeldon could have been avoided, and I already advised him before (that) all he has to do is answer and he will get a fair shake from the chairman, he said.

I give that assurance again. The chair only plays ball in a manner when the committee is respected. Once the committee is disrespected, I will play hard ball, Gordon said.

Source: Philippine News Agency