Faeldon denies signing Sanchez release order despite confirmed signature

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — Embattled Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon on Monday denied he ordered the release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez despite being shown the document bearing his signature.

Senator Ping Lacson presented the release order dated August 20 during the joint Senate panel investigation into the law that allows convicts early release for their good behavior.

Faeldon confirmed it was his signature on the document that would have allowed the convicted former mayor of Calauan, Laguna to walk free before completing his sentence due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law. But he denied it was specifically for Sanchez's release.

"The signature I signed, your honor, is a memorandum for release. Only the superintendent can issue the release order. I signed a memorandum of release starting the process of the release of any persons deprived of liberty (PDL)," he said.

BuCor Chief said he recalled the signed memorandum that seeks to review all inmates' files.

"That is not the release order because after my office, it goes to several other offices, finally it will go to the superintendent who issues the final release order. Along the process, I stopped it because I need to review again the GCTA granted to him that is after the strong objection of the legal officer that I cannot stop the release of all those PDLs," he said.

Faeldon refused to budge when Lacson once again pointed out that the document presented during the hearing was Sanchez's release order.

"Sir, there has never been a release order because I recalled it... That is my signature, that appears to be a document I signed, but the process of the release was never completed," he said.

Faeldon claimed he vehemently protested against the possible release of Sanchez, who was found with illegal drugs and contraband in his jail cell.

"I have been discussing how we can legally stop the release of Mayor Sanchez. I know he may have done a lot of infractions, I saw on television the drugs in his room, then 'yung kubol. Almost one week, I contested that. Why are we releasing prisoners like Sanchez?" he said.

He, however, said that according to the explanation of legal officers, the violations an inmate commits will only be deducted from his GCTA for that same month. But said he ended up adhering to the law.

"Even grave offenses like drugs confiscated inside their cells, they are only penalized for one month. In the succeeding month they will now enjoy another Good Conduct Time Allowance. This has been their application since 2014 up to this day," the BuCor chief cited.

Lacson said the signed documents speak louder than any of Faeldon's denial.

"I will not debate with you anymore because the documents don't lie. And you admitted already that that is your signature," the senator said.

Faeldon later admitted that based on procedure, the final release order will depend on his signed memorandum.

He also admitted he met with Sanchez' family on July 29 when they demanded to talk to him in BuCor. He said there was "never an assurance" that Sanchez will be set free.

Apart from Sanchez, another high-profile case was also discussed. Faeldon confirmed three of the convicts in the rape-slay of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong have been released under the GCTA law. In this case, the release orders for Josman Aznar, Alberto Caño, and Ariel Balansag were signed by Corrections technical superintendent Maria Fe Marquez.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he did not receive any approval request from BuCor on the release of heinous crimes convicts, including Sanchez and the ones from the Chiong sisters' case, related to the GCTA provision.