57 GCTA returnees, 59 parolees walk free in time for the holidays

Marje Pelayo   •   December 25, 2019   •   408

MANILA, Philippines – More than a hundred persons deprived of liberty (PDL) walked free from prison on Tuesday (December 24) just in time for the holidays.

A total of 57 inmates who returned to jail and had their Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) privileges reviewed can now reunite with their respective families.

Meanwhile, 59 PDLs from inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) were finally granted parole — the best gift they were able to receive this holiday.

“Based po doon sa aming strict evaluation ng kanilang mga karpeta, so nakita namin na entitled sila doon sa GCTA, (Based on our strict evaluation of their records, we assessed that they really are entitled to the GCTA),” explained BuCor OIC for Documents, SJO3 Albert Manalo.

“We found out na talagang na-serve na nila ang  (We found out that they already have served their) conviction, so we do not have any legal basis for their continued stay,” he added.

According to the BuCor, there are still more than a thousand GCTA returnees whose cases they need to asses.

These returnees surrendered themselves following a call from President Rodrigo Duterte during the height of the controversy when alleged heinous crime criminals also benefitted from the GCTA.

 “It has started already and it will continue as there are records that are finished and evaluated. Tuluy-tuloy ang pagpapa-release, (Continuous release will proceed),”assured BuCor PIO Chief Gabriel Chaclag.

“Pwede nating sabihing by batch, but as soon as may naipon, (We can do it by batch. As soon as their cases are reviewed, release will follow). Kasi ang direction ni Director General Bantag ay bilisan (Director General Bantag’s direction is to expedite the process) in compliance with the directive of our beloved president,” Chaclag added.

Meanwhile, BuCor calls on qualified jobseekers to consider joining the agency as they are in need of more than a thousand correction officers such as nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers among others.

Interested applicants may visit the BuCor office for information

NCRPO to probe link of GCTA mess to BuCor exec’s killing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 21, 2020

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is looking into the connection of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) issue with the killing of Bureau of Corrections legal chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.

According to NCRPO Director PMGen. Debold Sinas, the NCRPO already formed a special investigation task group to investigate the said case.

“Iyong tinitingnan nila ay iyong dating kaso ni Atty. Santos, iyong GCTA. Iyon ang latest na case niya at iyon ang cause kung bakit siya na suspend (They are looking into the former case of Atty. Santos which is the GCTA. That was his latest case and it was the cause of his suspension),” he said.

“We are checking sa angle na iyon kung sino ang nag-benefit sa pagkapatay ni Atty. Santos (We are checking that angle, and who benefited from killing Atty. Santos),” Sinas added.

Investigators, however, were not able to retrieve the CCTV footage from the incident. According to Sinas, the CCTV around the area were all broken.

The dash cam of Santos’ vehicle was also unable to capture the shooting.

“The shooters approached on the left side of the driver seat, kaya hindi nahagip ng dash cam (so it was not captured by the dash cam),” Sinas said.

The NCRPO official said there were two suspects in the shooting and they were on board a motorcycle.

Santos was suspended as the BuCor’s legal chief last September 2019 for the Senate hearing on the GCTA issue. He was supposed to resume work this March.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Muntinlupa Police creates task group to investigate Santos slay case

Maris Federez   •   February 20, 2020

MUNTINLUPA CITY, Philippines — The Muntinlupa City Police has created a special investigation task group to focus on the killing of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal officer Atty. Frederick Anthony Santos.

The police said neither the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) installed in the vicinity of the crime scene nor the dashcam of Santos’ vehicle was able to capture the shooting incident that took the life of the official.

Muntinlupa City Police chief PCol. Hermogenes Duque Cabe, however, said they can still check on all the CCTV in the possible route that the suspects took in fleeing the crime scene.
 
“Ongoing ang investigation pa rin hanggang ngayon,” Cabe said.

Based on the autopsy, Santos sustained two gunshots in the head, one on his neck, and three on his left arm.

Witnesses said the suspects left the crime scene on a motorcycle.

The Department of Justice, on the other hand, has earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigation on the killing of the suspended BuCor official.

The DOJ doesn’t discount the possibility that the shooting is connected with the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) controversy at the agency.

Santos was supposed to return to work on March 12 after the six-month suspension meted out on him by the Office of the Ombudsman due to anomalous implementation of the GCTA.

Meanwhile, Senator Ronald dela Rosa believes that the drug lords in the New Bilibid Prisons are behind the killing of Atty. Santos.

“’yung nagpapatay dyan sa mga tao natin sa BuCor, yan din yung mga nakakulong na drug lord dyan na kumbaga hindi nasunod yung kanilang kagustuhan. Marami pa yang pera at galamay sa labas na pwede kang ipapatay. Tinatakot nga ang mga judge, mga piskal,” dela Rosa said. —(from the report of Correspondent Sherwin Culubong) /mbmf

DOJ orders NBI to probe slay of suspended BuCor exec

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the killing of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal division chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.

In a directive issued on Wednesday, February 19, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered and granted authority to NBI director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation and case build-up against those behind the murder.

Santos was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon by unidentified gunmen while waiting to pick up his child in front of a school in Muntinlupa City, just a few meters away from the gate of the New Bilibid Prison.

He died instantly after sustaining gunshot wounds to head, neck and left arm based on an autopsy conducted by authorities.

Guevarra also ordered the NBI to file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for the crime if evidence warrants.

He also directed Gierran to submit to his office reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up within 30 days.

In a separate statement, the DOJ chief said that Santos’ fatal shooting is still under investigation but is “very likely” connected to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) issue.

Santos was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman last September 2019 in relation to the alleged misapplication of the GCTA law and other time credits to prisoners.

He was supposed to return to work in March after serving six months of suspension.

Santos was among the resource persons in a Senate Investigation into the GCTA mess.

Irregularities in the GCTA law application grabbed headlines following reports on the possible early release of former mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion, Allan Sanchez in 1993 after his sentence of 7-term Reclusion Perpetua was shortened.

The issue led to the revelations of the release of some heinous crime convicts and the anomalies in the BuCor. It also led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief, and President Duterte to set a deadline for the surrender of nearly 2,000 GCTA-freed convicts or be hunted down by police.

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