Finally, Duterte removes Faeldon!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 6, 2019 - 12:00am

I was watching the ANC news last Wednesday evening with no other than Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte talking to the media who demanded the resignation of Bureau of Correction (BuCor) director Nicanor Faeldon in relation to the implementation of the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance Law (GCTA). As Pres. Duterte pointed out, “Ito, I decided late last night and my orders are: One, that I am demanding the resignation of Faeldon immediately; second, that I am calling for an investigation to be handled by the ombudsman.” This is what Pres. Duterte said in that televised press briefing on Wednesday.

President Duterte demanded the resignation of Faeldon when he tried to justify the release of convicts by showing his computations under the GCTA law. In short, Faeldon has to go because the BuCor chief "disobeyed" his order. These people have apparently forgot that it is the president who has the authority to commute the sentence of a convicted criminal and even to the point of pardoning a convict. Take a look at what happened to former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada who was pardoned even before he was convicted of his crime.

In that same televised press conference, Pres. Duterte ordered the 1,914 heinous crimes convicts freed over the years of implementation of the law cutting down their prison time due to their good conduct to surrender to authorities. An obviously angry President said, “Surrender and have yourself registered in 15 days.” President Duterte added they are given 15 days of liberty provided that they make themselves available for re-computation of their GCTA and for investigation for corruption, or else they would be treated as fugitives. “Or you will be treated as criminals for evading the law. Well, you know, things can go wrong,” the president said, warning those who were already released.

Mind you, 1,914 convicts are now loose in our major cities or provinces, and they can wreak havoc on our innocent society. If you ask me, now is not a good time to have your young kids go to shopping malls because these are places that those convicts might go after languishing in jail for many years. With a 15-day furlough, these convicts can roam as free as a bird. But what if many of them refuse to surrender?

Apparently, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra relayed to Pres. Duterte a law that when one is released based on “wrongful interpretation or a faulty construction of the law, the person can be re-arrested.” So Pres. Duterte exclaimed, "Maybe three days I will decide if I put up... I will place P1 million per head, dead or alive.” He said further that he doesn’t need a warrant for his arrest order.

Meanwhile, former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te stated that sending heinous crime convicts back to prison would mean “a retroactive application of the law in a prejudicial manner, which is prohibited by the Constitution as an ex post facto application of the law." An ex post facto law is one that would penalize a crime that was committed when the act was not deemed illegal yet. The Bill of Rights states: "No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted."

Mind you, during that press conference, Pres. Duterte mentioned the name of Mrs. Thelma Chiong, the mother of the Chiong sisters who were kidnapped, raped, and murdered by many convicts in 1997, yet three of these convicts were released by Faeldon for good behavior? Mind you, these convicts never even told the Chiong family where the body of Jacqueline Chiong was buried or if she was thrown into the sea. Not even a rumor of the whereabouts of her body came out of the New Bilibid Prisons, and yet for good behavior three of them have been released?

Once again, it seems that the GCTA during the time of former president PNoy Aquino has been misused by BuCor officials, whom I already mentioned should not be the people who would release the prisoners as it is under the Executive Branch of the government, but rather it should be under the Judiciary. Of course we must admit that the president also has his authority to give clemency to criminals or even pardon convicts if he wishes to do so. But this is the sole authority of the president.

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