BuCor says Sanchez may not be eligible for release under new GCTA rule

Robie de Guzman   •   August 22, 2019   •   329

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Thursday said that former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez may not qualify for early release from prison under the new good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) rule.

BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon said Sanchez may be disqualified from availing the provisions of the Republic Act 10592 or the law that increased the good conduct and time allowance for inmates due to several grounds.

These include the allegations of possession of illegal drugs after a prison guard found a packet of shabu and marijuana in his jail cell.

Authorities also seized an air conditioning unit and a television set from his cell, which are violations of penitentiary rules.

“As far as the Bureau is concerned, dahil nahulihan talaga sa kubol niya nuong 2006, as far as we are concerned, legal ang pagkakahuli sa kaniya… that means definitely disqualified him sa good conduct time allowance,” Faeldon said.

The BuCor chief added that Sanchez may not be able to walk free soon contrary to the earlier announcement of the Department of Justice.

“Preliminary kasi marami siyang involvement sa not good behavior baka hindi nga siya qualified. That’s really the probability, he may not really be qualified to go home today or in the next few months. Mukhang hindi siya mapapasok kaagad at abutin pa siya ng several years,” Faeldon said.

The DOJ earlier said that Sanchez may be among the 11,000 persons deprived of liberty who may be released from jail within the next two months because of a new rule.

READ: DOJ: Ex-Calauan Mayor Sanchez, thousands others set for release

As proof that the now 73-year old Sanchez remains behind bars, BuCor chief Faeldon allowed media to get a glimpse of the former.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.

The news sparked outrage from the public, including lawmakers who are now seeking probe into the reported looming release of Sanchez. Some legislators also want to amend the law providing the new GCTA rule. (RRD with details from Sherwin Culubong)

Gordon says Faeldon not absolved from GCTA fiasco

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

Nicanor Faeldon

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said that sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor)chief Nicanor Faeldon is not absolved from the controversy on the implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

Gordon made the statement to clarify reports he is allegedly making an effort to steer Faeldon away from the GCTA mess.

The senator said the former BuCor chief remains accountable for being incompetent and negligent.

Gordon said Faeldon admitted his lack of knowledge on a Department of Justice (DOJ) order requiring the approval of the BuCor director general for the release of prisoners with expired sentence, as well as the approval of the Secretary of Justice to freed inmates who are sentenced to life imprisonment.

Faeldon was grilled at the start of the inquiry of the Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice and Human Rights Committees weeks ago on the questionable application of the GCTA law and the alleged irregularities in the agency relating to its implementation.

Faeldon’s lack of awareness over the DOJ order no. 953, Gordon said, led him to permit the early release of former Calauan mayor, who was convicted of rape and murder.

“Faeldon was not cleared from the corruption in BuCor as what stated on reports, specifically sa mga anomalya sa New Bilibid Prison.

“Naimbestigahan na siya sa Senado at siya’y umamin na hindi niya alam ang tungkol sa department order ng DOJ. Clearly, that is negligence of duty. Kaya nga siya nasibak sa puwesto,” Gordon said.

Senate Minority Franklin Drilon earlier said he believes Faeldon should be held liable for the GCTA mess which wrongly released more than 1,900 convicts of heinous crimes.

The issue led to President Rodrigo Duterte’s dismissal of Faeldon and the launching of investigation by the Ombudsman on the alleged anomalies involving BuCor officials.

The controversy also prompted the revision of the implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 10592 or otherwise known as the GCTA law, which now specifically states who among the convicts are ineligible from availing GCTA grants.

Nograles: Warrantless arrest of GCTA-freed ‘fugitives’ will push through

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

The warrantless arrest of heinous crimes convicts freed under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law will push through if they still refuse to surrender, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Nograles said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is still finalizing the list of GCTA disqualified convicts before they can conduct a warrentless arrest. This is due to the number of inmates still surrendering to authorities.

“They are just going over the list again and again, making sure na wala silang nakaligtaan. Making sure na wala namang ipapasok sa final list na hindi naman dapat, and you have to remember marami na up to now, marami na ang nagsusurrender ( They are just going over the list again and again, making sure they do not miss anyone. [They] will also make sure all GCTA disqualified convicts will be included. You have to remember, up to now, there are still inmates surrendering),” he said.

According to the Cabinet Secretary, once the final list is completed the PNP can conduct the warrantless arrest against the said “fugitives”.

“The PNP just wants to have pinpoint accuracy kung sino talaga ang hahanapin nila, (The PNP just wants to have pinpoint accuracy on who to track down),” according to Nograles.

Meanwhile, according to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar their tracker teams continue to monitor the whereabouts of the freed GCTA disqualified convicts.

“Tuloy pa rin ang pagmo-monitor ng tracker teams natin doon sa remaining na nasa listahan natin, (Our tracker teams are still monitoring those [inmates] on our list)” Eleazar said.

The PNP is calling on these inmates to surrender and not wait for authorities to apprehend them.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DILG’s Año confident of Bantag’s competence to head BuCor

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

J/SSupt. Gerald Bantag

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has expressed confidence in the competence of J/SSupt. Gerald Bantag to head the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a statement on Thursday, Año welcomed Bantag’s designation as the new BuCor chief, saying he has the necessary professional experience, training and competence having served as warden of major city jails in Metro Manila and eventually as regioal director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).

“As a professional and career BJMP official, Bantag is innately familiar with the Philippine penal system and culture and, therefore, he does not need a long transition and he can immediately begin work to reform the systems in the BuCor,” the DILG chief said.

Año also believes that under Bantag’s watch, corrupt BuCor officials will have a hard time engaging in illegal activities.

“Sa tingin ko, mahihirapan siyang paikutan ng mga ilang tiwali sa BuCor dahil alam na niya ang mga sistema at kalakaran sa ating mga kulungan,” he said.

The DILG chief added that the designation of a BJMP career official to head the BuCor is a positive development for the country.

He also expressed hope that this will be beginning of real reforms that “we all have been waiting for in order to truly serve justice and maintain the integrity of our penal system.”

“I urge Bantag to judiciously exercise his mandate and inculcate into his new assignment the professional culture of the DILG,” he said.

“Remember, you are not only accountable to the President but the entire Filipino people who are shocked and disappointed by the irregularities in the BuCor. In the hands of the right people, the problems of the BuCor are not insurmountable. As always, the BJMP and the DILG are ready to support you in your enormous responsibility,” he added.

Bantag replaces Nicanor Faeldon who was dismissed by President Rodrigo Duterte for disobeying his order to stop the release of convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

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