MANILA—Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday claimed that 3 more drug convicts were freed from prison for supposedly good behavior.
Taiwanese national Chen Tiz Zang was released from Davao Penal Colony while 2 Chinese nationals were released from Palawan Penal Colony, he said.
Lacson said the drug convicts were released in April on the basis of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, which shortens the time of imprisonment of a person deprived of liberty (PDL) based on good behavior.
He slammed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon amid the controversy.
"I can’t understand anymore the anti-corruption battlecry of the president. It seems that wherever Faeldon is assigned, corruption issues hound him," the senator said.
Faeldon used to lead the Bureau of Customs (BOC), wherein some P6.4 billion worth of shabu slipped through the agency's port inspections in May 2017.
He was transferred to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and then later on to the BuCor.
Lacson urged President Rodrigo Duterte to refrain from recycling appointees being linked to corruption.
"It's time the president reconsiders the practice of recycling officials accused of corruption and/or incompetence while heading their assigned agencies. Otherwise, his strong anti-corruption efforts might be put to question," he said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon wants to limit the power of the BuCor chief.
"Like Mr. Faeldon, he is the God Almighty personified. He can by himself count the good conduct time allowance and recommend and then say that they can now be released," he said.
The GCTA law or Republic Act 10592 was passed in 2013 with the goal of decongesting prisons and giving a second chance to reformed convicts.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that it should be applied to prison sentences given even prior to the law’s passage.
The BuCor, the agency tasked to compute the GCTA of PDLs, earlier said 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crime have been granted early release since 2014.
The Palace believes that heinous crime convicts released early over good behavior must go back to jail.
"Obviously, they (released inmates) should be thrown back in prison until they serve the full term of their sentence," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.—With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News