More heinous crime convicts yield to Duterte’s call hours before deadline

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019   •   244

MANILA, Philippines – Several heinous crime convicts who were released through Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) yielded to authorities’ hours before the deadline on Thursday (September 19).

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a 15-day ultimatum to over 1,000 heinous crime convicts freed due to the GCTA law to surrender or face warrantless arrest.

The President also announced a reward for the capture of those who would refuse his call to surrender.

The surrenders said they fear of their safety thus they decided to voluntarily return to authorities’ custody.

Earlier on Thursday, returning inmates arrived at New Bilibid Prison (NBP), each handing over their respective release order proving they were freed under the GCTA.

One of them was alias ‘Roy’ who was detained due to illegal drugs.

He was released last year after nine months in jail.

He was supposed to serve a 12 to 14-year jail term.

“Voluntary na lang, Sir para seguridad na rin (I volunteered to surrender for my own safety),” he said.

“Nanghihinayang rin kasi may trabaho na kami tapos bigla pa kaming mababalik, (It’s regretful because I already established a job outside detention but now, I need to go back in,)” he added.

Similar to ‘Roy,’ alias ‘Roger’ also fears the President’s directive and for his own peace, he decided to surrender.

“Mga ilang araw hindi ako makatulog, (I couldn’t sleep at night,)” Roger said.

“Tapos noong nakita ko nga nagsalita na naman, noong napanood ko sa TV (na) ‘Kailangan talaga kahit ano pa man ang ano mo. Pumunta na kayo. Sumuko kayo,’ napagpasyahan ko nga,” he added.

(I saw the President on TV saying: ‘You must return and surrender.’ That’s why I decided to just return.)

About 400 GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts have returned to the national penitentiary while the rest were distributed to different jail facilities under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

On Wednesday evening (September 18), two of the convicts in the Chiong sister’s rape-slay case, Josman Aznar and James Anthony Uy, also surrendered to authorities.

Aznar and Uy were released last month. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

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

Manhunt launched vs. assailants of BuCor top lawyer in GCTA controversy

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

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)

Senate adopts committee recommendation to file raps vs Faeldon, other BuCor and Bilibid officials

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has adopted the recommendation of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to file charges against officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) over the alleged abusive implementation of the Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

In the Committee Report No. 42 sponsored by Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday, the panel recommended the filing of charges against former BuCor director general Nicanor Faeldon, BuCor Documents and Record Section chief Ramoncito “Chito” Roque, Corrections Senior Inspector Ma. Benilda “Mabel” Bansil, and Corrections Officer Veronica “Boday” Buno.

Also recommended to be charged were Bilibid Directorate for Health Services director Dr. Ernesto Tamayo, Medical Officer Dr. Ursicio Cenas and Nursing Attendant Meryl Benitez.

The panel wants Faeldon charged for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) for committing nonfeasance in not complying with the requirements of Department Order No. 953; Roque, Bansil and Buno for accepting money for the promise of early release of prisoners; and Tamayo, Cenas, and Benitez for accepting money in order for PDLs to be confined in the New Bilibid Prison Hospital.

“The New Bilibid Prison became a place of vulnerability. Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL), while they deserve to be in prison because of their crimes, does not mean that they should be exploited and be taken advantage of. Their vulnerable situation makes them prone to the many extortions done inside the Bilibid,” Gordon said.

To reform the penal system, the committee also recommended that:

  • There should be a Model System of Penology;
  • There should be full digitalization of the carpetas, which should be accessible to the public or the families of the concerned parties;
  • There should be transparency, especially with regard to the computation of time allowances and release of prisoners;
  • Full digitization of all prisoner records is a must;
  • Digitalizing records of BuCor and BJMP employees and personnel for easy monitoring and filing;
  • The New Bilibid Hospital should be maintained and be well-equipped with adequate medical services;
  • There should be an operations center which can monitor every prisoner;
  • The use of artificial intelligence, digital and video analytics with command center independent from each other, inside our prison facilities to ensure that the PDLs, guards, employees are constantly monitored; and
  • There should also be a Code of Conduct followed

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