Opinion

Relieve Faeldon of his 'yoke'

Relieve Faeldon of his 'yoke'

President Duterte’s swift sacking of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections chief was widely applauded.

The applause, however, died down as the President just as quickly picked up his fallen friend, describing Faeldon as a good man.

The President has said that he would not tolerate even “a whiff” of corruption in his administration. In vouching for his loyal friend, he has cited the collection of billions in taxes from cigarette firm Mighty Corp. when Faeldon headed the Bureau of Customs. Faeldon had to be moved out of the BOC, however, amid a scandal involving the release of large shabu shipments through Customs.

Faeldon’s integrity as Bureau of Corrections chief has yet to be established as the Senate continues its inquiry today into what is emerging as a systematic collection of payoffs by BuCor officials for the early release of prisoners based on Good Conduct Time Allowance, especially after the Supreme Court ruled last June that the GCTA law must be applied retroactively. The President himself had hinted that corruption was possible in the release of about 2,000 prisoners under the GCTA, including heinous crime offenders such as the rapist-killers of the Chiong sisters.

While the President is free to express his opinion about his appointees, his statement has fueled speculation that he is again preparing to recycle Faeldon to yet another position in government.

This would be unfortunate for his avowed campaign for good governance. Senators are still trying to determine if there was money involved in the aborted release of former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez. Even if Faeldon is eventually cleared of suspicions of graft, his competence for public service is under question.

This is evident in the joke that has spread following his sacking. He should be recycled to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, according to the joke, because when he was BOC chief, large shipments of shabu disappeared; at BuCor, about 2,000 inmates also disappeared from prisons; so as MMDA chief, he might make EDSA traffic disappear.

After being fired from yet another government post, Faeldon claimed he felt relieved of a heavy burden and he could now sleep soundly. The President should not burden his friend further with the yoke of public service. It’s time to put Faeldon out to pasture.