It is time for the president to fire Faeldon
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 4, 2019 - 12:00am

It is the 90th birthday in heaven of my mentor and boss, the late Maximo V. Soliven, who took me in as his “alikabok” 30 years ago and turned me into the journalist that I am today. Sir Max was truly the Dean of all Columnists in Metro Manila and allowing me to write for The Philippine STAR when I was based in Cebu was unique even in today’s standards.

I was already a vice president-external of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry when we had Sir Max as our special guest, especially after the EDSA Revolution. Max and I had a 20-year friendship, then he had a kidney transplant, something I also would have years later. But when I’m writing my columns, I often ask myself, what would Max Soliven say about this particular topic even today? I’m sure that Sir Max is in a better place. Happy birthday Sir Max!

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I have some good news from Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar who proposed to the 18th Congress saying “Now therefore be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress that the athletes and coaching staff of the Philippine Paradragon Elite Team are to be commended for its exemplary contribution to the Philippine Sports History by winning the Paradragon Division of the 14th International Dragon Boat Festival (IDBF) World Dragon Boat Championships in 2019.” Indeed, as I already pointed out, PADS won the World Championship with four gold medals, a feat that new Filipino sportsmen ever won, especially persons with disabilities.

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Apparently, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon confirmed that three of the seven men convicted for the kidnapping and illegal detention of the Chiong sisters have been released based on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA). They are Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag, and Alberto Caño.

During the Senate committee on justice and human rights hearing last Monday, Senator Panfilo Lacson asked whether Aznar, Balansag, and Caño had actually been released, Faeldon replied, “Yes, your honor.” Senator Lacson added that the release orders for the three convicts are similar to the Aug. 20th release order for former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez. However, Sanchez was not released because of the public outrage.

Senator Lacson added that the case of the Chiong sisters was a prominent case in Cebu and not different from the case of Sanchez who was convicted of the murder and rape of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. Faeldon initially said he couldn’t remember ordering the release of Aznar, Balansag, and Caño. But Sen. Lacson presented a copy of the release order, which bore Faeldon’s name but had the signature of Women’s Superintendent Maria Fe Marquez. So it was no longer undeniable. Under the GCTA law or Republic Act 10592, Senator Lacson noted that the BuCor director, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology chief, and/or the warden of a provincial, district, municipal or city jail are allowed to grant allowances for good conduct. The three men are among the seven who convicted last May 5, 1999 for the Chiong sisters case.

At this point we learned from The Philippine STAR that Pres. Duterte is ready to fire Faeldon if he is found to have committed serious lapses in ordering the release of Sanchez, drug traffickers and other high profile prisoners as pointed out by Sen. Bong Go who said that “What Pres. Duterte wants is for those liable to be held accountable from top to bottom, whoever allowed them to slip out should be made to answer.” This was told during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the controversial release of some 1,914 convicts.

At this point, we here in Cebu find this situation appalling, more so that the convicts that kidnapped and murdered the Chiong sisters haven’t told anyone where they dumped the body of the other sister.

Those convicts should languish in jail for the heinous crime they did to the Chiong sisters, and their mother Thelma Chiong hasn’t really moved forward as these where two of her beautiful children that these murderers took away from her.

At this point, allow me to say that while justice has eluded the Filipino people for many decades, but at least some convicts are often given long jail terms, especially that we no longer have a death penalty. So the best way is a long life for convicts to rot in jail.

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