President Duterte said he was removing the BuCor chief for disobeying his instruction to halt the release of convicted criminals under the GCTA.
In a press conference in Malacañang, the President said he broke his silence because as the Chief Executive, he must be a part of the solution and not of the problem.
“I just had a Cabinet session and I told them of my explanation to the public about the whole thing,” he told reporters. “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.”
After ordering the removal of Faeldon, the President said he wanted the members of the BuCor committee handling clemency to report to him and to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
President Duterte said he would not suspend the BuCor officials in the meantime but they would be investigated. “Diretso na ito sa Ombudsman. There’s already a prima facie case. There’s an admission that they will remiss in their duties.”
At the same time, the President ordered all 1,700 prisoners released under the law to surrender and register with the BuCor.
“I will give you 15 days liberty provided you make yourself available anytime that you will be called for investigation to have a recomputation or if there’s an investigation of corruption, that you cooperate fully,” he said.
“If you do not, then beginning at this hour, you are a fugitive from justice. And that you will be treated as a criminal who is evading the law and, well, you know things can go wrong.”
He advised the released convicts to turn themselves in to the nearest police or military station, adding issuing warrants of arrest is superfluous at the moment. The government may also offer bounties for the convicts who will refuse to surrender, the President warned.
Based on a briefing with Secretary Guevarra, there is a law that says prisoners released based on a wrongful interpretation or a faulty construction of the law can be arrested anytime and must serve their full sentences because such order is null and void, according to the President.
“There is a hiatus there kung sino talaga ang mag-pirma. So I am taking over all the investigations and delegate it to the Secretary of Justice. Lahat ng anumang committee ‘yan—whether it’s board, pardon, or anything—it will pass to a committee,” he said.
President Duterte noted that according to the records, there has been an apparent misdeed and possible corruption given the propensity of the 1,700 convicts released by the BuCor, including the killers of the Chiong sisters of Cebu.
The impending release of former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez and other henchmen caused massive public furor compelling Congress to investigate.
Sanchez was sentenced in 1995 to seven counts of reclusion perpetua over the murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. Investigations revealed that Sarmenta was also raped.
Secretary Guevarra ordered a thorough review and recomputation of GCTAs of convicts as a result of the controversy. PND