MANILA

Duterte 'fires' Faeldon, orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, September 4, demanded the "immediate" resignation of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon and ordered freed heinous crime convicts to surrender within 15 days.

If they fail to surrender within 15 days, the President said he was considering a P1-million reward for the re-arrest of each heinous crime convict who was released based on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) system.

"P1 million per head, dead or alive," Duterte said.

The President said he was ready to "kill" the killers of the Chiong sisters, Eileen Sarmenta and Gomez, if an opportunity arises.

"Given the propensity of [1,914], including 'yung nag-patay sa Chiong sisters pati 'yung Sanchez, 'yung high profile na galit ang tao. Gusto ko silang patayin kaya lang walang opportunity. But given, I'll execute them. No problem," he said.

Among those freed are Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag, and Alberto Caño, three of the seven men convicted for the 1997 rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong.

Faeldon signed their release orders on August 16, 2019. The BuCor chief admitted on Monday, September 2, 2019, that the three men have been released.

Convicted for the rape-slay of Sarmenta and the killing of Gomez was former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was supposed to be among those released for good behavior.

Sanchez's release order, however, was recalled following the public outrage over his impending release.

Duterte gave the directive amid strong opposition to the early release of convicts of heinous crimes because of good behavior as provided through the GCTA system under Republic Act (RA) 10952.

"Lahat ng nakulong at na-release sa batas na ito (Released inmates because of the law), [1,914] of you, you surrender and have yourself registered with the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections). I will give you 15 days liberty, provided you make yourself available any time that you will be called for investigation, to have a recomputatuon or if there's an uncestigation of corruption, that you cooperate fully," Duterte said in a press conference.

"If you do not, then beginning at this hour, you are a fugitive from justice and you will be treated as criminal who is evading the law. You know things can go wrong. If I were you magsurrender na kayo to the nearest police or military detachment, whatever you are now because I will not need to have a warrant [of arrest]. I will just order them and I take the responsibility for this," he added.

On Faeldon, the President said he is "demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately".

"Faeldon has to go because Faeldon disobeyed my order," he added.

Several lawmakers have sought Faeldon's removal from BuCor because of the outrage sparked by the GCTA system.

Faeldon on Monday, September 2, refused to vacate his post, despite mounting calls for his resignation.

Records from the BuCor revealed that some 1,914 inmates convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2014 on the basis of good conduct.

Duterte first tapped Faeldon as Bureau of Customs chief, but the latter stepped down in August 2016 following the shipment of P6.4 billion worth of smuggled shabu from China through the Manila International Container Terminal.

The President later re-appointed Faeldon to the Office of Civil Defense and later on tasked the latter to lead the BuCor in November 2018.

Under RA 10592, only the Bureau of Corrections head, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology chief, or the jail warden can grant GCTA, which shortens inmates' jail time for good behavior.

The GCTA law, however, states that the benefit cannot be applied to "recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes."

But the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the 2013 law "included those convicted of heinous crimes as qualified to avail the benefits of RA 10592." (SunStar Philippines)


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