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Faeldon gets furlough for child’s birth

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate granted yesterday former customs chief Nicanor Faeldon a brief pass from detention to allow him to witness the birth of his child, undergo a medical checkup and take his oath of office.

Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia said Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, gave him verbal orders to grant Faeldon temporary liberty a week after the latter railed against the “cruel, degrading and inhumane punishment” against him by the chamber.

Faeldon thanked Gordon for his “decency” and “compassion.”

“I’ll now be able to witness the birth of my youngest child; I’ll be able to embrace my loved ones; take my oath at the (Department of National Defense-Office of Civil Defense as deputy administrator) and obtain treatment from my cardiologist,” Faeldon said in a statement posted in the Twitter account of his legal defense team.

Balajadia said Faeldon will be heavily escorted by Senate security personnel. However, it was not clear how long his furlough will be.

Gordon last week said Faeldon had made requests for liberty but asked that he not be escorted by Senate security personnel.

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Faeldon has been in detention for contempt since September last year after he refused to continue to testify before the committee, which was conducting an inquiry into the smuggling of some P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China that slipped through the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Last Dec. 27, President Duterte appointed him to the OCD that triggered protests from senators, who accused him of abetting smuggling at the BOC.

Last week, Faeldon said Gordon refused to allow him to visit his family last Christmas and attend the birth of his child; and deprived him of his right to be examined by his doctor for his heart condition and practice his religious beliefs.

“Go ahead, Senator Gordon. Kick me and punish me some more, if that makes you a bigger man,” Faeldon posted on Twitter.

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