DOJ orders review of good conduct time for high-profile, heinous crime convicts

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2019 06:00 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2019 04:23 AM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered a thorough review and recomputation of good conduct time allowances (GCTA) granted prisoners involved in heinous crimes and other high-profile cases. 

“I have ordered a strict review and careful recomputation of the GCTAs of persons deprived of liberty involved in high-profile and heinous crimes such as rape with homicide, multiple murders, and drug-pushing,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message to ABS-CBN News Wednesday.

The order comes in the wake of reports of the impending release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who had been convicted for the 1993 rape-murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her companion Allan Gomez. 

The DOJ earlier said Sanchez’s GCTA was being recomputed by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), its attached agency, and would probably regain his freedom following 2013 amendments to provisions of the Revised Penal Code on good conduct time grants. 

Republic Act No. 10592, passed on May 29, 2013, include the following important amendments:

  • Expanded the application of the good conduct time allowance for prisoners even during preventive imprisonment;
  • Increased the number of days that may be credited for good conduct time allowance;
  • Allowed additional deduction of 15 days for each month of study, teaching, or mentoring service; and 
  • Expanded the special time allowance for loyalty and made it applicable even during preventive imprisonment

Sanchez also benefited from a Supreme Court (SC) decision that qualified prisoners, regardless of whether already serving sentence or detained, for the reduction of their sentence pursuant to time allowances, including GCTA, under the said law. 

This ruling, penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, invalidated the prospective application of the time allowance grant. 

Despite reports Sanchez may be released Wednesday, Guevarra said this would not happen “because there are many other PDLs ahead of him for processing."

Some 11,000 prisoners are expected to be released due to the GCTA.