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.
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday renewed his call for the reimposition of death penalty in the country amid talks on the possible release of convicted rapist and murderer, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
Dela Rosa said the impending release of Sanchez and other inmates convicted of heinous crimes should not have been an issue now if the capital punishment was not abolished.
“Kung sa akin lang kung ganyan ka-heinous ang krimen na ginawa niya (Sanchez) dapat binitay na siya noon di ba, kung may death penalty na noon nabitay na yan… pero wala tayong magawa,” he said in a statement.
Sanchez was sentenced in 1995 to seven terms of reclusion perpetua (or 40 years of imprisonment) over the rape and murder of students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.
At the time of Sanchez’s conviction, the capital punishment was still in place.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier said Sanchez is among the more than 11,000 other inmates who might soon be freed due to a 2013 law that increased good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates and a Supreme court ruling last June applying this law retroactively.
Dela Rosa said the pending release of inmates, especially those who were convicted of heinous crimes, could be averted if the capital punishment is reimposed.
He further noted that existing laws should be observed.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m just on the side of the law. Andiyan yang batas (Republic Act 10592) na ‘yan, dapat respetuhin natin, sundin natin,” he added.
But Sanchez’s eligibility under the new GCTA rule has been questioned by lawmakers and other sectors due to allegations of possession of illegal drugs after a prison guard found a packet of shabu and marijuana in his jail cell. An air condition unit and a television set were also seized from his cell, which are violation of prison rules.
When asked on the validity of releasing Sanchez, Dela Rosa said the DOJ through the Board of Pardons and Parole should explain to the public with regard to the GCTA.
“Well tanungin natin yung Board of Pardons and Parole na nagre-recommend niyan at yung sa loob ng Bureau of Corrections kung paano nila na compute, ang alam ko meron yang computation, may corresponding GCTA yan kung ilan days ang mababawas sa sintensya mo,” he said.
The Bureau of Corrections earlier said that contrary to earlier reports, Sanchez may not qualify for early release from prison due to several alleged violations of prison rules.
“As far as the Bureau is concerned, dahil nahulihan talaga sa kubol niya nuong 2006, as far as we are concerned, legal ang pagkakahuli sa kaniya… that means definitely disqualified him sa good conduct time allowance,” BuCor director general Nicanor Faeldon said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III questioned whether Sanchez’s case is the best argument for the revival of death penalty.
“7 life sentences, no indemnification, hearings for parole did not inform Sarmenta family. Best argument for death penalty?” Sotto asked in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
Several lawmakers have expressed support for the return of the capital punishment, including Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Pia Cayateno, Bong Go, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, but only for high level drug trafficking.
While other senators, including Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Ralph Recto and Joel Villanueva expressed opposition to the proposal.
The Philippines abolished the death penalty under the 1987 Constitution. President Fidel Ramos reimposed the capital punishment in 1993 as a crime control measure but President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reinstated its abolition in 2006.
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa is suggesting that universities and colleges should welcome the military and police and allow them to conduct their respective indoctrination.
The proposal is to curb the recruitment and brainwashing of students being practiced by the rebel group, New People’s Army (NPA).
But according to Police Chief General Oscar Albayalde, such recommendation was given a different interpretation by militant youth groups.
“This is misunderstood and medyo overreaction ang mga militanteng grupo. There is no such thing as militarization of a campus,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde insists that cops do not enter the school premises unless they have official business inside as stated in the agreement between the University of the Philippines, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and the government specifically the Department of National Defense that police and military personnel are off limits inside campuses unless approved by the university administration.
“Itong mga militanteng grupo,they are trying to abuse that charter. Kami naman, we can freely enter the campus of UP even today,” the Police Chief noted.
Meanwhile, the PNP respects U.P. students’ decision to hold a day of walkout on Tuesday (August 20) citing their right to assembly provided that it is in accordance with the law. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)
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