By Rey G. Panaligan and Hannah L. Torregoza
Sen. Richard J. Gordon yesterday figured in a heated argument with former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon at the resumption of the Senate hearing on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.
Faeldon criticized Gordon after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson insinuated he is deliberating panel’s investigation into prevailing corruption within the BoC.
Gordon began the hearing by criticizing Faeldon for his repeated refusal to attend despite giving in to his requests while he is in detention.
Two weeks ago, Faeldon was given a two-week furlough to witness the birth of his child and to be able to take his oath of office as Office of Civil Defense official. President Duterte appointed Faeldon as deputy administrator for operations of the OCD while in detention.
“You took an oath, you’re in uniform, you turned your back against your own government,” Gordon told Faeldon.
“I attended this hearing Sir because I am now a government employee, not because I expect that you will lead this committee to find out the truth. We are so far from getting that. Your honor,” Faeldon said in response.
“Alright then you will remain under contempt,” said Gordon.
Faeldon said he had no problem remaining under Senate detention. “I have no problem with that your honor. I did not attend here so I will have my liberty. I attended here because I am the most interested person to ferret out the truth, which you are so far from seeking your honor,” Faeldon said.
Meanwhile, Faeldon yesterday asked the Supreme Court to order his release from detention at the Senate for contempt.
Faeldon was ordered arrested and detained last Sept. 7, 2017 by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee led by Gordon for refusing to participate in the Senate investigation on the P6.4-billion illegal drugs shipment from China which escaped the agency’s scrunity and the “tara system” at the BoC.
Aside from Gordon, named respondent in his petition was retired Maj. Gen. Jose V. Balajadia Jr., Senate sergeant-at-arms.
“The respondent’s order of arrest and detention order should be declared as null and void as it was issued pursuant to a proceeding without any legislative purpose or even intent of legislation but purely for persecution, grandstanding, and self-confessed obsession,” Faeldon said in his petition through lawyer Jose A. Dino Jr.
Faeldon pointed out that he was detained “without any chance for bail or any other form or mode of provisional or temporary liberty.”
“Stripped of the niceties, the petitioner is being detained, and has been detained for 134 days, and counting, on a non-bailable charge. Legislative contempt however, and without fear of contradiction, is not and has never been classified as a heinous offense, much less a non-bailable offense,” he said.
“Thus, the assailed ‘no bail’ detention order is no doubt a cruel and inhuman punishment, which has long been outlawed under the 1987 Constitution,” he added.