Ellen Tordesillas | Making life worth living | July 12, 2007
Faeldon wants to sue officials responsible for JPEPA
By DJ Yap
A Marine captain on trial for the failed 2003 Oakwood mutiny wants to file graft charges against officials involved in the forging of the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
In a surprising move, Captain Nicanor Faeldon sought the permission of a Makati court to file a criminal complaint against officials of the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic and Development Authority.
He said he would charge the officials, including Undersecretary Tomas Aquino, with violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Office of the Ombudsman.
His lawyer, Trixie Angeles, said all the respondents are those found to be “directly assigned in the negotiations” for the bilateral treaty, which environmentalists say will allow Japan to dump its toxic wastes into the country.
In a motion heard by Judge Oscar Pimentel of Makati Regional Trial Court Thursday, Angeles asked the court to allow Faeldon to leave prison on Wednesday to file the complaint.
Visibly surprised about the move, Pimentel told Angeles: “I am wondering what this is all about.”
Angeles said her client intends to file the complaint as a “citizen,” who found the JPEPA treaty to be “grossly disadvantageous” to the country.
The judge asked: “You mean to tell the court that your client intends to file cases every time (he comes across anomalies like this)?”
The lawyer replied yes, but added that Faeldon was only interested in the JPEPA case at the moment.
Faeldon is detained at the Philippine Marine Brig at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
Along with 30 other junior officers belonging to the “Magdalo” group - including Senator Antonio Trillanes IV - he is facing coup d’etat charges for the armed takeover of the Oakwood service apartments in Makati City in July 2003.
In an interview after the hearing, Angeles said her client was also contemplating taking legal action on a number of other issues, including the Human Security Act.
“But it’s premature to take the HSA case to court because there are no implementing guidelines yet,” she told reporters.
Angeles said Faeldon’s chief objection against the JPEPA is the provision that could allow the “importing” of toxic wastes from Japan.
Pressed to identify the other respondents, she said she was still gathering documents to determine who were the ones “directly assigned in the negotiations” for JPEPA, which went against the laws of the republic and the interest of the people.
“The President may not be held liable because she just relied on the recommendations of her alter-egos,” Angeles said.
Pimentel said he would study the motion “judiciously,” and indicated that he would resolve it before Monday. The prosecution did not comment on the motion.
Regarding Faeldon’s motives for filing the complaint, Angeles said he only wants to continue his advocacies, having remained true to his ideals four years after the Oakwood mutiny.
“He has been consistent that there would be no plea bargain in his case. He is willing to pay the price for what he believed in,” she said.
Asked if Faeldon has plans of following in Trillanes’ footsteps, Angeles said: “His answer is categorical. He will never run for public office.”