Dela Rosa wants BuCor Building no. 14 inmates excluded from GCTA grant

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   618

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider disqualifying persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) incarcerated inside Building no. 14 of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in Muntinlupa City from benefitting from the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

Dela Rosa made the suggestion to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra during the joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human rights and the Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday (Sept. 3).

The senator said inmates confined in Building no. 14 are considered not in good behavior because of their continuous engagement in the illegal drug trade even while in prison.

“Kaya nilagay natin doon para ma-stop ‘yung kanilang ginagawa so, meaning they are not in good conduct behavior habang nasa loob ng building,” he said.

Dela Rosa hopes the DOJ and other concerned agencies will take note of his proposal when they deliberate on the possible amendments to the Implementing Rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 10592, which increase the good conduct time allowance given to qualified prisoners.

“I would suggest to the Secretary of Justice na sana isama niyo dun (sa revised IRR) sir na once nasa loob ka ng building 14, you are not eligible for GCTA… In case ma-approve by this body ‘yung sinasabi ni Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) kanina na we will vote for the recall of the IRR at ibalik sa DOJ at DILG para baguhin in accordance with the spirit na gusto (ng Congress), yung na-envision ng legislators na nag-craft ng law na yan,” he said.

Guevarra, in return, agreed to consider Dela Rosa’s suggestion.

The RA 10592, which was passed in 2013, was intended to decongest the country’s prison cells. It also provides second chances to reformed convicts.

During the recent senate hearing, several senators have said that PDLs convicted of heinous crimes and those who committed grave offenses while in prison do not deserve reduced prison terms.

The GCTA law became controversial after news broke out that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, could be among thousands of inmates qualified for early release due to good behavior.

This sparked public outrage, prompting several legislators to file bills seeking to amend or repeal the law.  

Senators give mixed reactions on Sinas’ appointment as new PNP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

Police Major General Debold Sinas

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Monday gave varied reactions to the appointment of Police Major General Debold Sinas as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Earlier in the day, Malacañang announced that Sinas has been designated by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the country’s police force.

For Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, Sinas is a “good choice” for the top PNP post.

“Barring any controversy that Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas got entangled with in the past, he is a good choice for the top Philippine National Police post,” Lacson said in a post.

“I’ve known him as a performer, always mission-oriented and undoubtedly will lead the police institution the way it should be led,” he added.

Sinas faced criticisms earlier this year for holding a “mañanita” or a pre-dawn birthday serenade in May that allegedly violated quarantine restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The incoming PNP chief has since apologized for the incident.

“That said, the birthday mañanita event was a hard lesson that I hope he has learned from, and which he will surely remember whenever he will be confronted in making decisions affecting the PNP as well as his personal reputation,” Lacson said.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, also a former PNP chief, congratulated Sinas for his appointment, he is a “good choice,” and has a “proven track record.”

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian advised Sinas to take this opportunity to prove that he is the best man for the job.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also urged Sinas to reorient cops, especially those belonging to the anti-carnapping group, of the police protocols in dealing with suspects.

On the other hand, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Duterte’s choice of next PNP chief was not surprising at all.

“With all due respect, hindi na sorpresa na ang mga kakampi o kaalyado na nasasangkot sa mga kaso o katiwalian ay hindi pinaparusahan, kinokonsinti o di kaya ay promoted pa,” he said in a statement, referring to the alleged treatment by the president to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and former Customs Commissioners Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña who were linked to various issues.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also hit Duterte’s decision on Sinas’ appointment, saying the president “could have made a more meritorious choice for Philippine National Police Chief.”

“While Debold Sinas was my late husband’s underclassman and an old friend, unfortunately, the poor manner in which the PNP has acted on the waves of violence as well as minimized the risks of the coronavirus pandemic under his previous commands betrays his level of competence for this new role,” she said.

Sinas will be replacing PNP chief General Camilo Cascolan who is set to leave the police service on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Malacañang earlier assured that Sinas is not yet off the hook over the mañanita mess despite his installment as PNP’s top cop.

Three dead, 64 hurt in latest New Bilibid Prison riot – BuCor

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Three persons were killed and 64 others were injured in the latest riot that erupted within the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) maximum security compound, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said Monday.

The BuCor said the three persons deprived of liberty (PDL) were declared dead on arrival at the NBP Hospital while six of the 64 wounded persons were referred to the Ospital ng Muntinlupa for medical attention.

The bureau earlier reported that a “free for all scuffle” transpired inside the Bilibid compound at 8:39 a.m.

Members of the Corrections bureau, Philippine National Police’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Special Action Force (SAF), and the Bureau of Fire Protection have been deployed to contain the situation.

The BuCor said some members of the operating team sustained minor injuries while suppressing the commotion.

Initial investigation showed that the incident was between Sigue-Sigue Sputnik and Sigue-Sigue Commando gangs.

No further details were provided as of this writing.

The riot was contained around 10 a.m., the BuCor said, adding that its personnel are on the process of clearing the area.

The bureau assured that the situation is now under control and that the NBP is back to normal operations.

The incident occurred exactly one month after a riot erupted inside the NBP maximum security compound that left nine inmates dead and several others injured.

The Department of Justice said it has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the incident or expand its probe on the previous riot.

Another riot erupts at New Bilibid Prison – BuCor

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Another riot broke out at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City on Monday, a month after similar incident left nine inmates dead, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said.

In a Facebook post, the BuCor said the “free for all scuffle” occurred around 8:39 a.m. on Monday inside Bilibid’s maximum security compound.

Bureau personnel who were at the offices during the incident were ordered to immediately evacuate the national headquarters to ensure that no injuries will be inflicted to them, it added.

There was no report yet on possible casualties during the brawl.

The agency said immediate response from the bureau, PNP-SWAT, Police Special Action Force, and Bureau of Fire Personnel were deployed but did not say whether the incident has ended.

“Penal colonies were also advised to be on red alert in order to ensure peace and order within their area of responsibility,” it added.

The BuCor said its director general Gerald Bantag is “on top of the situation” and is giving instructions to the response team.

“Investigation will be conducted to identify the cause of incident. Disciplinary measures will be imposed on those who are responsible,” the agency said.

In October, a riot erupted inside the NBP maximum security compound that left nine inmates killed and several others injured.


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