Duterte on Faeldon: ‘I still believe in him’
NAGA CITY, Cebu — Despite having sacked Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief over the questionable release of convicts through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, President Rodrigo Duterte said he still trusts him.
“Si Faeldon, tarong na nga tawo (Faeldon is an upright man). I still believe in him,” the President said in a speech at the launching of the housing project for landslide victims in Naga City, Cebu this afternoon, Friday, September 6, 2019.
The President said Faeldon has proven himself when he tipped him off about the tax evasion case of a Philippine tobacco giant, Mighty Corp., in 2017.
According to the President, it was Faeldon, who was then a commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, who informed him about the tax evasion scheme of the company, when he could have made “millions” for himself had he not turn them in.
“Naay panahon nga naay usa ka negosyante nga tulo ka bodega sa sigarilyo peke ang stamp. It was Faeldon ang nag sirbato nako. Kung naghilom sya ato ug nangayo sya he could have made millions,” Duterte said.
(There was this time when one businessman had three warehouses full of cigarettes bearing fake stamps. It was Faeldon who alerted me about it. If he stayed quiet and asked for a pay off, he could have made millions.)
Mighty Corp. paid the government a total of P40 billion to settle the tax evasion charge against the company.
Thelma Chiong and husband, Dionisio, the parents of the 1997 rape-slay victims Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong, were in the crowd when the President made the pronouncement.
The couple went to the venue of the groundbreaking ceremony in Barangay Tinaan of the city to supposedly meet and thank the President for his order to the 1,914 crime convicts who were freed through the GCTA law to surrender. They, however, failed to meet with the President.
Three of the seven convicts in the Chiong sisters’ rape-slay case — Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Cano – have been freed through the GCTA. Their whereabouts remain still unknown amid urging from the Cebu City police for them to surrender.
In an interview prior to the President’s speech, Mrs. Chiong said she hoped that President Duterte will no longer appoint Faeldon to another position in government following the GCTA controversy.
Mrs. Chiong, when reached for comment, declined to give a direct reaction to the President’s statement on Faeldon.
“Disappointed? That I was not able to thank him personally,” Chiong said in a message reply to CDN Digital on Friday evening.
“But nakaduol man ko ni (I was able to go near) Senator Bong Go, introduced myself and asked him to thank the President for me,” she added.
Mrs. Chiong said that Go assured her that the released convicts in her daughters case will be brought back to jail.
President Duterte arrived at the venue at 5:30 p.m. or two and a half hours later than the 3 p.m. schedule. He joined the laying of the time capsule and groundbreaking of the project with Acting City Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and officials from the National Housing Authority.
The President spoke for about 30 minutes before departing for Cebu City en route to Davao City, where he has another engagement. /elb
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