Sotto seeks BuCor revamp amid controversy over early release of prisoners

Kat Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2019 12:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2019 01:10 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "revamp the entire" Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) after reports showed release orders for convicted drug lords and rapists were signed by the agency's chief.

Under the law, a convict's sentence may be reduced if he or she exhibited good conduct while in prison. The law, however, does not cover criminals who committed heinous crimes like drug trafficking and rape.

"PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) must revamp the entire officialdom of the BuCor. This travesty of Justice is condemnable!" Sotto said in a tweet.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said the BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon signed release papers to free Chinese drug lords. 

Faeldon also reportedly signed release orders for former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was sentenced to serve 7 reclusion perpetua terms (40 years each) for the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion Allan Gomez. 

The former mayor's release was halted after the move drew public outrage earlier this month.

Some 2,000 heinous crime convicts have been released early since 2014. 

This followed the enactment of a 2013 law expanding the computation of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to detention time. The Supreme Court also upheld its retroactive application. 

The GCTA allows prisoners early release on account of good conduct. 

Sotto did not directly mention Faeldon's name in his series of tweets about the BuCor but asked: "Bakit lahat ng malipatan nitong official na ito may iskandalo? Saan Kaya sya Sunod ililipat?"

(Why do scandals happen wherever this official is assigned? Where will he be assigned next?)

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also blasted Faeldon, wondering why he is still in government.

“I don't know what to say sa galit ko! Pinalabas ni Faeldon ang P6.4 worth of illegal drugs sa BOC, ngayon naman, pinalabas niya isang rapist sa BuCor. Bakit na sa gobyerno pa itong tao na ito,” Gatchalian tweeted.

(I don't know what to say in anger! Faeldon allowed the release of P6.4 [billion] worth of illegal drugs from the BOC, now he allowed the release of a rapist from BuCor. Why is this person still in government?)

He proposed to abolish the GCTA to end the supposed corruption in BuCor. 

“Let's simplify our lives, just abolish that GCTA. Para walang nang corruption at mga lagay lagay sa loob ng BuCor. Gagawin ng lahat ng mga drug lords at rapist makalabas ng kulungan. Maglalagay talaga 'yan,” the senator said.

(Let's simplify our lives, just abolish that GCTA. So that there wouldn't be corruption at the BuCor. All drug lords and rapists will do that. They will bribe their way out.)

Meanwhile, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission said it would look into the corruption allegations on the application of the GCTA.

In an interview on DZMM radio, PACC chair Dante Jimenez said the law states that recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged of heinous crimes should not be granted the GCTA. 

Prior to his appointment to the Bureau of Corrections, Faeldon headed the Bureau of Customs. It was under his watch when at least P11-billion worth of shabu slipped past Customs officials, triggering a Senate inquiry. 

- with a report from Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN