MANILA, Philippines – Convicts of heinous crimes are no longer entitled to benefit from the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.
After a 10-day review, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra signed on Monday (September 16) the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the GCTA law.
This time, the new rules exclude convicts of heinous crimes.
“We enumerated the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) excluded, recidivist, habitual delinquents, escapees and those charged of heinous crimes,” Guevarra said in a press briefing.
Heinous crimes are also clearly enumerated based on what is defined under Republic Act No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law and Supreme Court Jurisprudence.
These include treason, qualified bribery, parricide, murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, rape, destructive arson, carnapping with rap or murder and some illegal drug offenses among others.
The provision of transparency is emphasized in which the names of the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) entitled to time allowance or credits should be posted online.
The Justice Department will now be part of the management, screening and evaluation committee and of the accredited civil society organization.
Likewise, the revised IRR clarifies the period of grant of credits and time allowances, but the re-computation of sentences will be detailed in the new manual of the GCTA law.
Guevarra explained that although the assessment is done on a monthly basis, the granting of credits will be on a cumulative basis depending on the overall actions of the PDL during the time of incarceration and not just on his monthly behavior.
“The grant will be done on a cumulative basis so that it is the general conduct of the PDL that will have to be taken into account,” he said.
Because of this, the DOJ assured that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, whose alleged record has been questioned due to charges of illegal possession of drugs filed against him in 2006, will not be included in the expanded GCTA.
The DILG and the DOJ have given the joint committee a 60-day extension to review the GCTA law manual or guidelines. – MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
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
MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now investigating the motive behind the killing of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Service Department chief, Atty. Fredric Anthony Santos on Wednesday (February 19).
Santos was shot by two still unidentified gunmen in front of his daughter’s school near the New Bilibid Prison as he was supposed to pick her up.
Witnesses said the suspects immediately left the crime scene onboard a motorcycle after the incident.
Santos became controversial after appearing in a Senate inquiry as a witness in the alleged ‘freedom for sale’ inside the BuCor in connection with the inmates’ Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
The BuCor official sustained gunshot wounds in the head and died on the spot, according to the responding rescue team from Muntinlupa City.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (February 20) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation on the killing of Santos.
The SOJ also ordered a case build-up and eventually charge those who are behind the murder.
Secretary Guevarra believes that the killing of Santos is likely linked to his role in the GCTA investigation.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCPO) Chief PDG Debold Sinas, meanwhile, assured the safety of Santos’ family following his death.
“We have coordinated with BuCor for the security of the Family na nakatira doon sa BuCor Compound,” he said.
Santos was suspended in September last year by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly allowing the questionable release of prison convicts.
Following Santos‘ death, Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed that he was informed that the BuCor official promised Senator Panfilo Lacson that he (Santos) will divulge everything he knew about the irregularities in the granting of GCTA privileges inside the New Bilibid Prison. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)
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.
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