Former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon has been temporarily released from his detention room in the Senate late Friday evening after receiving a furlough from Senator Richard Gordon.
Former BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, meets with supporters after an ambush interview at his sister’s house in Taytay, Rizal, September 8, 2017. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Retired Gen. Jose Balajadia, Senate Sergeant at Arms, said Faeldon was freed at 10 p.m. to visit his partner who has given birth to their son in a hospital in Taytay, Rizal. The mother gave birth at 11:56 p.m., according to Atty. Jose Diño, Faeldon’s legal counsel.
Balajadia told the Manila Bulletin that the Senate will allow Faeldon some time “enough to enjoy his newborn.”
Gordon said Faeldon will remain under the custody of his Senate Blue Ribbon committee even as the latter was given a 48-hour leave by the senator.
‘’No, I did not release him. But he pleaded to be given a furlough to be with his girlfriend,’’ Gordon told a radio interview.
Gordon said Faeldon has five escorts from the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA).
In a statement issued Friday, Faeldon thanked Gordon for approving the furlough. The ex-Customs chief previously hit the latter for turning down his earlier requests. Faeldon said Gordon likewise allowed him to meet with his cardiologist and take his oath as Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator.
Faeldon has been in Senate custody since September after he was cited for contempt for his refusal to appear before the committee and testify on the controversial release of of P6.4-billion worth of ‘’shabu’’ (crystal meth) that came from China and arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last May.
Gordon said he had assigned persons to talk to and convince Faeldon to testify before his committee so that the contempt charge would be lifted but the ex-commissioner refused.
‘’Nagpaawa siya,’’ he added. (Faeldon asked tobe pitied.) Gordon also said his committee never violated Faeldon’s constitutional rights.
Faeldon is expected to go back to the Senate by Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a member of the Blue Ribbon panel, said he was not consulted on the action taken by Gordon.
‘’I don’t know if he did with the other members of the committee,’’ he said. ‘’Nevertheless, had I been consulted, I would not have objected for reason of compassion and mercy,’’ he added.