By: Vanne Terrazola
Former Customs commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon on Monday turned up at the Senate and had himself arrested, making good his promise last week that he would rather spend time in jail rather appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing the P6.4-billion shabu seized in Valenzuela City.
Faeldon, who was cited in contempt last week by the Senate for his failure to attend the ongoing hearing, arrived at the Upper Chamber at around noon Monday.
Instead of showing up at the hearing, Faeldon went straight to the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA).
Last week, Faeldon said he will no longer testify before Congress inquiries in protest of the sweeping allegations against him by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes, linking him to the corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BoC). He challenged lawmakers instead to file charges against him as he would rather explain his side in “competent courts.”
Upon learning of Faeldon’s presence at the Senate OSAA, Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, excused himself from the ongoing hearing to talk with the former BoC chief.
But after some 30 minutes of closed-door meeting, Gordon failed to convince Faeldon to show up at the hearing. Gordon emerged from his meeting with Faeldon to tell media that the former BoC chief is standing pat on his decision not to appear in any Senate hearings. Instead, he opted for detention at the Senate to face his contempt case.
“Ang pakiramdam niya, habang nandito, hindi siya mananalo dito dahil ang mga senador ay may mga karapatan, tulad ng privilege speech,” Gordon said.
Gordon said Faeldon lamented to him how “unfair for him to be judged” by Lacson who, in his privilege speech delivered earlier, alleged that the former BoC official was given a “pasalubong” (welcome gift) of R100 million when he assumed the top Customs post in July last year.