Go files bill seeking to amend Revised Penal Code, resolve GCTA law issues

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   1044

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday filed a bill seeking to amend the Philippine Revised Penal Code to resolve issues in the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) rule for inmates under the Republic Act 10592.

In filing the Senate Bill No. 1003, Go proposes to amend the Articles 29, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code, the same provisions which were amended and rendered unclear by the GCTA law.

Go said the proposed measure recognizes that the said articles gave the notion that prisoners, including recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes, are entitled to GCTA benefits.

The senator filed the bill more than a week after news broke out that convicted murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez could be released earlier for good behavior.

Go said his proposal follows the points raised by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra during a Senate inquiry on Monday (Sept. 2) on what seems to be lacking in the GCTA law and the safeguards that can be provided.

“I have filed Senate Bill No. 1003 to clearly state the intent and policy of the law not to extend the benefits of GCTA to prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes,” he said.

Through SB 1003, Go added a provision that clearly states that convicts of heinous crimes “will not be eligible to be granted time allowances.”

He also added a list of heinous crimes to further avoid confusion and a provision that all prisoners for release on the basis of time allowances shall be subject for review.

The lawmaker also highlighted that Congress will be informed of the releases, “as the Bureau of Corrections will be required to furnish the Legislature with a report twice a year.”

“All of these will form part of our continuing fight against corruption and criminality, and illegal drugs,” Go said.

“The law may be ambiguous, but what is clear to me is that there is either negligence or corruption in the way our correctional system is being handled,” he added. “I say to the Filipino people – mananagot ang dapat managot.”

Senator Sonny Angara earlier filed a bill proposing to amend certain provisions of the GCTA law, including the clear definition of heinous crimes, the exclusion of recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons convicted of heinous crimes from availing of the GCTA and the deletion of the provision making GCTA irrevocable under the law.  

Proposals to repeal the GCTA law were also filed in the Senate following the controversy.

Former PH envoy to Brazil back in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 3, 2020

Former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro has returned to the country, several days after she was reported to have been caught on video mistreating her service staff inside the diplomat residence in the South American country.

In a statement on Tuesday, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go confirmed that Mauro arrived in the country late Monday night after receiving information from the DFA.

Mauro was ordered to return to Manila to face an investigation into her alleged acts of abuse after CCTV videos of her berating and maltreating her household helper were shown by a Brazilian media in October.

The Filipina helper has already returned to the country last week.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

“The DFA is expected to have an impartial investigation, relying on facts and not influenced by public statements for or against the Ambassador,” Go said.

Mauro has yet to issue a statement.

Duterte OKs probe on PH envoy accused of mistreating staff

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to proceed with the investigation into a Philippine envoy’s alleged maltreatment of her service staff in Brazil, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Thursday.

“In light of the gravity of the allegations against the ambassador, the President has given the green light to proceed with the investigation of the official concerned, as recommended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Go said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said it needed the approval of the president to conduct a probe against Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina household service staff on several occasions.

Section 51 of the Foreign Service Act states that “Chiefs of Mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board [of Foreign Service Administration] or separated from the service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”

“The President has always been firm – the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas is a paramount responsibility of our government,” Go said.

“Our ambassadors are duty-bound to carry out this mandate, no questions asked,” he added.

Go further stated that the “impartial investigation will be carried out consistent with relevant provisions of the law, particularly the Foreign Service Act of 1991.”

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Mauro has been ordered to return home to face the investigation.

She has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegations.

Nag-abandona sa matandang babae sa tulay sa Maynila, arestado

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2020

Ephraim Tan Yap (kaliwa) at ang kanyang inabandonang tiyahin na si Fulgencia Tan (kanan)

MANILA, Philippines – Nasa kamay na ng mga otoridad ang mga nag-abandona sa isang senior citizen sa ilalim ng isang tulay sa Maynila.

Ayon sa Manila Police District Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (MPD-SMaRT), nahuli ngayong Biyernes si Ephraim Tan Yap, 51, pagkatapos ng isinagawa nilang operasyon.

Ayon kay SMaRT Chief Rosalino Ibay Jr., si Yap ay pamangkin ng matandang babae na kinilalang si Fulgencia Tan na kamakailan ay natagpuang nag-iisa at nakahiga sa ilalim ng McArthur Bridge.

“Nalaman natin na ang victim ay isang person with disability (PWD) at senior citizen. We conducted a follow-up operation na nagresulta sa pagkaka-aresto ng tatlong malefactor natin,” ani Ibay.

Sa pagharap kay Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, sinabi ni Yap na tatlong linggong na-confine ang matanda sa isang ospital at napunta sa kanya ang responsibilidad sa pag-aalaga rito nang mamatay ang asawa nito.

Ngunit sa halip na alagaan, lumapit umano siya sa isa pang suspek na si Emerita Decilio upang magpatulong na dalhin ang matanda sa isang charity group.

Inabutan niya umano si Decilio ng perang nagkakahalaga ng P1,500 para ipambili ng pangangailangan ng kanyang tiyahin.

“Lumapit po ako kay Emie, pagtapos po noon pumunta kaming barangay para sa certication na inaabandona ko na ang auntie ko. Kaya humingi po ako ng tulong para maipadala siya sa mga center,” ang wika ni Yap.

Inamin naman ni Decilio na inabandona niya ang matanda matapos umano silang tanggihan ng nilapitang grupo.

“Mayroon na po akong certificate sa barangay na si Mrs. Tan ay abandoned kaya kailangan tanggapin ng Missionary of Charity kasi abandoned na,” paliwanag ni Decilio.

“Pero wala pong tumanggap sa’min, kaya desperado na po ako. Aaminin ko po iniwan ko po,” dagdag pa niya.

Ayon kay Ibay, mahaharap ang mga suspek sa kasong paglabag sa Article 275 ng Revised Penal Code o ‘Abandonment of Persons in Danger and Abandonment of One’s own Victim.’

Kabilang din sa mga sasampahan ng kaso ang drayber ng tricycle na inarkila ni Decilio na si Rogelio Espino.

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