Referrals unnecessary for 'good conduct' release of convicts: ex-DOJ exec


Posted at Sep 04 2019 08:14 AM

MANILA - Referral letters are unnecessary in granting convicts' requests for early release on good conduct credits, a former justice undersecretary said Wednesday, after a Cabinet official said he penned such a document for his former client who was jailed for rape and murder.

Presidential Spokesman Panelo, who served as one of ex-Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez’s defense counsels in the 1993 case that was among the most followed in the country, said Wednesday that he referred the mayor’s application for executive clemency in a letter dated Feb. 26.

The good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that could help free prisoners is automatically computed by the Bureau of Corrections and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at the end of every month, said former Justice undersecretary Reynante Orceo. 

"Hindi kinakailangan ng recomendation, di kinakailangan ng referral. Basta importante lang doon, nasunod iyong proseso sa pagbibigay ng time allowance," said Orceo, who served under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. 

(A recommendation, referral is not needed. What is important is that the process for giving time allowance was followed.) 

BuCor and BJMP officials should "disregard" letters of referral or recommendation, he said. "Kasi hindi naman kasama sa proseso iyon e," he reasoned. 

(That is not included in the process.) 

BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon earlier this week told lawmakers that he signed in August a memorandum recommending freedom for Sanchez. Faeldon said he stopped the process "because I believe he is not entitled." 

The GCTA law excludes heinous crime convicts, recidivists, habitual delinquents and escapees, Orceo said. 

Authorities are required to post in prison facilities the list of potential GCTA beneficiaries so it can be questioned by the public, he said.


Sanchez was sentenced to 7 reclusion perpetua terms, with 40 years each, for the rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and the torture-killing of her companion Allan Gomez. The former mayor maintains his innocence, saying he was a victim of a frame-up by his political enemies. 

His relatives said Tuesday they had no intention to pay millions in damages to the Sarmenta and Gomez families. 

"'Pag sinabi ng korte magbayad ka, magbayad ka. Hindi mo puwedeng sabihing ayokong magbayad because ayaw mo lang," said Orceo. 

(When the court tells you to pay, you should. You cannot say I won't pay just because you don't want to.) 

The aggrieved party, he said, should file a motion for execution to enforce the civil liability of Sanchez, whose assets could be seized.