By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Was former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon granted to temporarily leave the Senate detention room for humanitarian reasons?
That is the question raised by contradictory statements gathered by the Manila Bulletin Friday night.
Faeldon, in a brief statement posted in the Twitter account of his legal team Friday afternoon, thanked Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (SBRC), for approving his “humanitarian furlough request.”
“Maraming salamat po SBRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon for your decency and compassion,” Faeldon said.
“Masasaksihan ko na ang pagsilang ng aking bunsong anak, mayayakap ko na ang mga mahal ko sa buhay, at makakapag-oath taking na ako sa DND-OCD as Deputy Administrator III, at makakapagpagamot na ako sa aking cardiologist (I can now witness the birth of my youngest child; I can now embrace my loved ones; I can take my oath of office as DND-OCD Deputy Administrator III; and I can consult my cardiologist for medical treatment),” he said.
No order to release
However, when sought for confirmation, Senate Sergeant at Arms Jose Balajadia, however, denied that the Blue Ribbon Committee had officially granted Faeldon his request.
“He was not released and there is no such order. He is still confined at the Senate,” Balajadia told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
Balajadia, however, said that there was a “verbal order” to accompany Faeldon to the hospital when his partner will give birth. He added that Faeldon will be allowed outside the Senate depending on the number of hours of his partner’s labor.
Asked further if Gordon had not issued any official instruction for the former Customs chief’s temporary release, despite Faeldon’s statement, Balajadia replied, “That is right.”
Meanwhile, Jose Dino, Faeldon’s lawyer, while not categorically confirming the furlough approval, told Manila Bulletin : “Better ask SBRC.”
Senator Gordon has yet to comment on Faeldon’s pronouncement as of press time.
Faeldon was detained last September 11 at the Senate after he was cited for contempt for refusing to participate in the Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment released by the Bureau of Customs under his watch.