Faeldon yields to Senate, opts to face court

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FORMER Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon was detained at the Senate Monday for refusing to participate in hearings of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu while he was still in charge of the bureau.

The committee chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, had issued an arrest warrant for Faeldon, who was found in contempt for refusing to attend hearings on two occasions despite the issuance of a subpoena.

Asked how long Faeldon would be held, Gordon said: “Until he decides to come over, until the Senate says ‘You may go.’”

Donning  a white shirt printed with the message “truth is justice,” Faeldon turned himself in at the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms before noon Monday. 

He insisted he would not attend the ongoing Senate investigation into corruption at the bureau.

Faeldon had earlier said he was willing to spend years in jail but he would no longer face any congressional inquiries as the senators maligned him and destroyed his name when he attended the first hearing.

THE CUPS BESIDE THEM. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon visits Monday former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon at his holding room at the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, shortly after the latter was detained for disregarding summons to testify in the investigations into the alleged corruption in the Bureau of Customs and continues to refuse to testify in the ongoing investigation into the P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from China.

Gordon talked to Faeldon when he arrived at the Senate, but the former Customs chief refused to be convinced.

“I spoke to him and told him to face the panel so his side could be heard and that he will be on the losing end if he does not go up. He said he respected the Senate and he was ready to stay here and be detained. But he felt while he was there, he won’t win,” said Gordon.

Gordon noted that Faeldon would rather face a court than the Senate, and lamented the uneven playing field in the chamber. 

He said Faeldon  cited Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Panfilo Lacson’s allegations against him. 

Gordon said the former Customs commissioner was humble and respectful. 

He said Faeldon respects the chamber except Trillanes and Lacson, who implicated him in the corruption at the bureau.

Faeldon said he wanted a clarification on the privilege of immunity from suit accorded to senators who deliver speeches.

He said if the Supreme Court or any other body would make an official clarification that lawmakers “can violate” the Bill of Rights, he will willingly attend the hearings of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the shabu shipment.

In a privilege speech last month, Lacson accused Faeldon of receiving “tara” or bribe money during his stint at Customs commissioner.  He said Faeldon also got P100 million as welcome gift when he assumed his post at the bureau.

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