DILG welcomes petition questioning legality of revised GCTA guidelines

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2019   •   321

Inmates listen during a peace accord event to stop violence amongst gangs inside the New ‘Bilibid’ Prison’s maximum security compound in Muntinlupa city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 December 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has welcomed the petition filed before the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act 10592 which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they are ready to defend their position, adding that the department along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) worked hard to promulgate the revised guidelines to “clarify the ambiguous provisions of the GCTA law that have led to past abuse in its implementation.”

“The revised IRR addresses the many inadequacies of the old IRR that were abused and taken advantage of by corrupt correctional officials,” Malaya said in a statement.

“We will be working closely with our statutory counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General, and the DOJ in vigorously defending the new IRR before the Supreme Court,” he added.

The DILG official also stressed that the law gave the DOJ and the DILG the authority and responsibility to craft the IRR.

Officers from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) who have the “necessary experience and technical expertise on the matter” helped in the crafting of the guidelines.

“The new IRR is one crucial step in the reform of the BuCor,” Malaya said.

A group of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) earlier filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the revised IRR of the GCTA law, particularly the provision disqualifying convicts of heinous crimes from availing of time allowance for good conduct, loyalty, study, teaching and mentoring for “going beyond the law and for being tantamount to executive legislation.

The petitioners also urged the high court to order the BuCor and the BJMP to refrain from retroactively applying the exclusions introduced by the revised IRR which they said are disadvantageous to any prisoners.

“While we are confident of our legal position, the final arbiter will be the highest court of the land whose decision we shall honor and respect,” Malaya concluded.

DILG directs LGUs to submit structural assessment report in 90 days for the ‘Big One’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 27, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed local government units (LGUs) to submit a structural assessment report in 90 days in preparation for the ‘Big One’.

In a press conference on Wednesday (February 26), DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs are tasked to submit rapid structural assessment of buildings and infrastructures to the DILG and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“[This is a] part of the effort to fortify buildings and establishments in anticipation of a massive earthquake like the Big One,” he said.

LGUs are also expected to submit action plans in response to the assessment’s findings. The DILG Secretary warned of sanctions against LGUs who will fail to comply.

“We will not automatically file cases to the non-compliant LGUs. Pero magkakaroon ng kaso kapag mayroon ng (but there will be a case if there will be) damage to properties at (and) loss of lives dahil sa negligence ng LGU, (because of the LGUs’ negligence)” Año said.—AAC

DILG tells local execs to establish impounding areas for towed vehicles

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday ordered all local government units (LGU) to establish impounding areas for towed illegally parked vehicles.

Through Memorandum Circular 2020-031, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said all cities and municipalities are mandated to designate impounding areas where towed illegally parked vehicles, as well as those involved in road accidents or breakdowns, will be brought.

Tricycles apprehended by LGUs for operating in national highways should also be brought to these impounding areas.

Año said the directive is part of government efforts to clear road obstructions.

“Ang mga illegally parked vehicles ay kailangang i-tow at dalhin sa impounding area. It is, therefore, incumbent upon cities and municipalities to designate impounding areas for the safekeeping of towed vehicles,” he said in a statement.

“Ang pagtatalaga ng impounding area ay mandato sa ating mga syudad at bayan. Kailangan nating umaksyon para sa mas maluwag na daan, mas mabilis na daloy ng trapiko, at para sa kapakanan ng publiko,” he added. The DILG chief also called on local councils to pass ordinances specifying guidelines on towing, impounding and releasing of impounded vehicles and prescribing corresponding penalties.

He said that such ordinances should be consistent with national laws and policies, and shall not be unreasonable or discriminatory.

Año said the latest directive supplements Memorandum Circular 2019-121 issued last July, mandating local governments to reclaim roads and revoke parking permits of private vehicles on public roads.

Furthermore, Section 16 of the Local Government Code provides police powers to local governments to regulate the use of roads, direct traffic, and remove obstructions.

“Kahanay po nito ang isa pa naming direktiba, ang MC 2020-004, na sumasakop sa operasyon ng mga tricycle kasama ang pagbibigay ng prangkisa. Ang mga tricycle ang madalas na sakit ng ulo ng mga traffic enforcer lalo na kung walang terminal at kung saan-saan na lang nag-aabang ng pasahero,” he said.

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

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