MANILA—Malacañang on Tuesday blamed Aquino administration officials over the controversial early release of almost 2,000 heinous crime convicts as it distanced itself from the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
The Palace blamed former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for the“messy” implementing rules and regulations of the GCTA law, which allowed the release of inmates earlier convicted of heinous crimes.
The same such rules allowed the release of 3 suspects behind the rape and murder of the Chiong sisters in the 1990s, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“Mrs. Chiong, the mother of the sisters involved in that murder case, was effectively blaming the President (Rodrigo Duterte) about this law and that is why the President says I have to issue a statement and tell Mrs. Chiong particularly, and the public, the history of that law,” Panelo said.
Panelo reiterated that Republic Act 10592, which contains the provisions of GCTA, was introduced in Congress in 2013. Both Houses of Congress passed it and then President Benigno Aquino signed it into law.
"Now I think what made it messy is that former Senator, former Secretary of Justice, now detained Leila de Lima issued and crafted a reso, implementing rules and regulations together with the DILG Secretary Roxas, placing those convicted of heinous crimes as covered by Republic Act 10592,” Panelo said.
"I think that started the whole thing. That’s why the President says, 'It’s not in my administration.'”
Malacañang said there is a need to revisit the implementing rules and regulations of the GCTA law.
“Now, kung after mabago 'yan, you leave it to the wisdom of the lawmakers whether to amend it or to repeal it,” he said.
The Office of the President earlier urged the DOJ to study the possibility of re-arresting those released for GCTA but have been disqualified by law.
“We also note that Article 99 of the Revised Penal Code on the irrevocability on the grant of GCTA is premised on the grant having a lawful justification,” Panelo said in a statement.
"Without a lawful justification, therefore, the said grant is void and the person who benefitted from it may not invoke its irrevocability hence can be incarcerated to continue his or her sentence."