The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea of former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon, who has a pending graft case, to travel abroad because “the probability of flight of accused is great.”
Faeldon has a graft case for allegedly approving the release of P34-million worth of smuggled rice in 2017.
He pleaded the anti-graft court to allow him to travel to the United States from Sept. 16 to 30 and to South Korea from Oct. 15 to 22.
The court pointed out “the reputation of the accused-movant (Faeldon) as a former escapee creates serious doubts on whether he would return to the Philippine if permitted to travel abroad.”
“The Court takes notice that he had twice escaped from custody in the past, after having been involved in the so-called Oakwood mutiny staged by junior military officers in July 2003, viz: first, in December 2005 but recaptured a month later; and, second, in November 2007 and surrendering in July 2010,” cited the ruling penned by Associate Justice Maryanne E. Corpus-Manalac with the concurrence of Fifth Division Chairperson Rafael R. Lagos and Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega.
“A perusal of accused-movant’s motion and reply shows that no clear and definite purpose of the requested foreign travels has been presented therein. Instead, his submissions offer rather vague claims that he was purportedly tapped as an ‘informal backdoor facilitator’ last Sept. 10-11, 2022 to meet with ‘foreign partners and other stakeholders’ who are supposedly ‘all willing to help in the improvement of our country’s economy,’” the Sandiganbayan said.
“Pressed with the details, he did not even bother to cite any specifics in his reply. He explicitly admits therein, however, that apart from the lack of travel itinerary and return flight details, ‘he does not know which foreign partner or stakeholder would agree to meet with him on such short notice, and if so, when and where such meeting would be held,” it said.
The court stressed that it “cannot simply rely on his bare claim of necessity, more so that he is now a private citizen, having been separated from service since September 5, 2019.”