FORMER Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon on Monday filed a petition for his immediate release from Senate detention due to his continued refusal to testify in the Senate’s ongoing investigation on the smuggling of P6.4 billion shabu from China last year.
In his 30-page petition filed through his lawyer Jose Diño, Faeldon also sought the nullification of the arrest and detention order issued by the Senate on September 7, 2017.
Faeldon noted that he has been deprived of liberty for 134 days already, despite the fact that what we committed was merely legislative contempt, which is neither a heinous nor a non-bailable offense.
Faeldon named Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, or the Blue Ribbon Committee and Maj. Gen. Jose Balajadia as respondents.
The former military officer lamented that instead of reaping praise for the seizure of the illegal drugs on May 26, 2017, he was accused of being involved in the smuggling of shabu and other malicious imputations prompting him to decide against participating in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the matter.
This prompted the committee to order his arrest and detention on September 8, 2017.
Faeldon insisted that his arrest and detention order should be declared null and void as it was issued pursuant to a proceeding without any legislative purpose, but purely for “persecution, grandstanding and self-confessed obsession.”
Faeldon noted that, from July 2017, the author or any other member-senator of the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, has not filed any proposed amendatory law, or any proposed new law related to the drug-smuggling case.
He added that his arrest also has no factual basis and was issued in violation of his right to due process of law as there was no show cause order issued prior to the order for his arrest and detention.
“All that respondent Sen. Gordon and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee succeeded at, from the 11 fruitless and wasteful hearings they conducted, was to focus the tri-media’s attention and media mileage on themselves, as well as to carry out their vindictive persecution of the petitioner,” the petition read.
Acting on Gordon’s motion during Monday’s session of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committe, senators have agreed to transfer Faeldon—presently detained for contempt at the Senate basement—to the Pasay City Jail indefinitely.
“The [shabu shipment] was allowed during Faeldon’s watch,” Gordon told reporters, indicating that Faeldon will remain under detention at the Senate premises until probers vote to set him free.
Gordon did not rule out the possibility of elevating Faeldon’s case to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“When we feel he [Faeldon] is guilty, we will call the Ombudsman so they can get the evidence [to pursue the appropriate charges against the former Customs chief],” the senator said.
Voicing frustration over Faeldon’s demeanor before the Senate Committee, Gordon blurted out: “You are not a sacred cow, as far as I am concerned.”
But Faeldon, an ex-Marine captain, retorted the Senate probers are really out to get him.
“The senators can ask questions to malign you,” he told reporters. Faeldon added: “They are out to destroy me.”