Speakership bets Cayetano, Romualdez, Velasco meet with PDP-Laban

Robie de Guzman   •   July 12, 2019   •   1357

(L-R) Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco , Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez | Courtesy: Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – Three lawmakers gunning for the speakership of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress met on Thursday night with some members of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.

Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez met with PDP-Laban in Taguig to discuss the forthcoming opening of the 18th Congress and the measures that need to be prioritized.

Cayetano also talked about his programs that will help the Duterte administration’s legislative agenda, as well as his plan to push for full debates on significant issues that will affect the welfare of the Filipino people.

They also discussed the term-sharing set-up between Cayetano and Velasco as House speakers endorsed by the party’s chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

PDP-Laban president, Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel earlier said Cayetano still needs to work on getting the speakership post despite Duterte’s endorsement.

READ: Cayetano has to work for House speakership – Koko Pimentel

He added that Cayetano still has to convince House members to vote for him, including the 85 solons belonging to the ruling party.

Prior to the president’s endorsement of the speakership term-sharing scheme, the PDP-Laban fielded Velasco as its bet for the post.  

Cayetano is a member of the Nacionalista party while Velasco is a PDP-Laban member while Romualdez is with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats.

Romualdez earlier said he dropped from the speakership race and accepted the House Majority Leader job as suggested by the president. (with details from Grace Casin)

Duterte wants to speed up release of sickly, aging prisoners

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to speed up the release of sickly and aging prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Duterte specifically wants to fast-track the release of inmates who are 70 years old and above.

“I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na. Ako mag-set ako, 70 years old or 75, 70,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.

The chief executive pointed out that elderly and sick prisoners within the said age bracket can no longer run nor commit criminal acts. Most of them also do not want to be released anymore.

“Hindi na marunong mag-holdup ‘yan. Hindi na makatakbo ‘yan,” he said.

Duterte made the statement in the wake of the controversy on the early release of heinous crime convicts from the NBP through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The president earlier set a 15-day deadline for some 1,914 heinous criminals freed due to the GCTA rule to surrender or face re-arrest.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

READ: Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Two days before the ultimatum lapses on Sept. 19, Duterte offered a P1 million bounty for each heinous crime convict who failed to comply with the order. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is offering a P1 million bounty for the capture of each heinous crime convict released through Republic Act 10592 or the expanded good conduct time allowance (GCTA)law who will fail to surrender to authorities before or on Sept. 19.

Duterte made the announcement two days before his 15-day ultimatum for GCTA-freed convicts to surrender lapses.

“Basta ako sinabi ko, I will just set the timeline and then the P1 million prize is available to those who can capture them dead or alive. But maybe dead would be a better option,” the president told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.

“I will pay you smiling. Ibalik ko ‘yan preso, makakain pa ‘yang p***** i**** ‘yan. Gagastos pa ako,” he added.

Last Sept. 4, Duterte ordered convicts who were freed early for good behavior to present themselves within 15 days to the nearest police or military camp for the investigation and recomputation of their good conduct credits.

He warned that those who will fail to comply with the order would be treated as fugitives.

As of Wednesday (Sept. 18), a total of 964 GCTA-freed convicts have surrendered to authorities and are now under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) custody, according to the Department of Justice.

This number is more than half of the 1,914 heinous criminals who were released for good behavior under the expanded GCTA rule.

The controversy began after news broke out that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty (PDL) who may be eligible for the expanded GCTA given to inmates.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez in 1995.

The controversy led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief and a Senate inquiry into the issue revealed the alleged modes of corruption in the national penitentiary involving several BuCor employees.

It also prompted the present government to revise the implementing rules and regulations of the law, which was enacted in 2013 during the time of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to specifically state who among the convicts are ineligible from availing GCTA grants. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte won’t extend 15-day deadline for surrender of GCTA-freed convicts – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will not extend the 15-day deadline he issued for the surrender of convicts who were freed early under good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, Malacañang said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said convicts prematurely freed on GCTA would have to surrender to authorities within the given grace period because they would be treated as fugitives if they fail to comply with the order.

The deadline, which the president issued last Sept. 4, will lapse on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“As the president said, when the 15-day deadline lapses, they will be deemed to be fugitives from justice and they can be arrested,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing on Monday.

Duterte earlier warned GCTA beneficiaries he might consider putting a P1 million bounty per inmate if they fail to present and register themselves for the recomputation of their good conduct credits.

The controversy began after news broke out that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty (PDL) who may be eligible for the expanded GCTA given to inmates.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez in 1995.

The controversy led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief and the revelation of supposed modes of corruption in the national penitentiary during a Senate inquiry.

It also prompted the present government to revise the implementing rules and regulations of the law to specifically state who are not eligible to avail of the expanded rule.

BuCor data earlier said that since the law’s implementation in 2014, around 1,914 heinous crimes convicts were released.

As of Monday (Sept. 16), 658 GCTA beneficiaries have surrendered to authorities and are now under BuCor’s custody.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said it has already formed more than 120 tracker teams to be deployed when the 15-day surrender period ends.

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