Gov't reviewing law which freed heinous crime convicts: Justice official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2019 08:14 PM

MANILA - The government is now reviewing the law on good conduct time allowance (GCTA) with a view to amending some of its implementing rules, an official from the Department of Justice said on Sunday.

A joint committee from the Justice and Interior departments were given until Sept. 12 to submit recommendations, Justice Undersecretary and Spokesperson Markk Perete.

"That is exactly the implementing rules and regulations which the Justice Department now wants reviewed because of some errors or flaws which we've seen on how the law itself was implemented," Perete said in an interview with ANC.

He also said jail officials may have misinterpreted some aspects of the law.

"What was discussed was whether the exclusion found in the law was actually not in the implementing rules and regulations, the consensus there it was somehow misinterpreted because under implementing rules and regulations, exclusions only referred to the credits of life imprisonment, when it should apply to the allowance and credits under RA 10592," Perete explained.

A total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2014 under the GCTA law, data from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) showed.

The review committee will submit their findings to the Justice and Interior Departments, and it will be up to the respective secretaries whether they will recommend an amendment to the law.

Watch more News on iWantTFC

The review of the GCTA law came following reports of its questionable application by the Bureau of Corrections.

BuCor director-general Nicanor Faeldon previously announced Antonio Sanchez's release under good conduct time allowance.

Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan town, Laguna, was convicted in the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta in 1995 and the torture-killing of companion Allan Gomez. Six of his henchmen were also convicted in the crime, which the judge of the case called "a plot seemingly hatched in hell."

But the BuCor chief backtracked amid public uproar. He said Sanchez was not eligible to be released based on several grounds, including the discovery of P1.5 million worth of shabu hidden in a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Sanchez's cell at the New Bilibid Prison in 2010.