MANILA – It turns out even rape and murder convicts have been granted early release over good conduct.
A total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crime have been granted early release since 2014, a year after the amendment of the good conduct time allowance law (GCTA), data from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) showed.
The GCTA shortens the time of imprisonment based on a convict's good conduct.
The prisons bureau released the data amid uproar over the possible release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted of the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and killing of her companion Allan Gomez. He was sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (40 years each term) in 1995.
The BuCor earlier said he might not be eligible for a GCTA grant over prison violations, including drug possession.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who initially spoke of the possibility of Sanchez's release, meanwhile, said the former mayor may not qualify for a GCTA grant as he committed heinous crimes and then drug offenses while in prison.
BuCor data showed that of the total 22,049 prisoners released because of the GCTA since 2014, 1,914 served time for heinous crimes including rape, murder, kidnapping and drug-linked violations.
BuCor data tracked back to six years ago, when a law was signed expanding coverage of the GCTA to time spent in detention. The Supreme Court also ruled that the law may be applied retroactively.
There had been a “deluge” of applications for early release since, officials earlier said.
According to the data, most of those released- 797 convicts- were murderers, 758 were rapists, 274 committed robbery with violence or intimidation, 48 were drug convicts, 29 committed parricide, 5 were convicted of kidnapping with illegal detention, and three committed destructive arson.
The number of heinous crime convicts released also increased over the last five years, with the most set free so far this year at 816.
From zero releases in 2013, the time the law expanding the GCTA grant was signed, there were 62 early releases in 2014, 105 the following year, 212 in 2016, 335 in 2017 and 384 last year.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Interior and Local Government on Thursday suspended processing of GCTA applications amid a review of the rules.
- with report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News