MANILA - The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Thursday it rejected the executive clemency plea of 3 of 4 Chinese drug lords later released due to good conduct credits, which is facing legality questions.
The Chinese convicts were caught smuggling some 30 kilos of shabu inside their luggage at the country's main airport in September 1991, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
The PDEA, in a letter to the Board of Pardons and Parole in February, opposed the executive clemency plea of 3 of the suspects due to the "gravity of their offense," he told DZMM.
The Chinese nationals - Chan Chit Yue, Kin San Ho, Ching Che, and Wu Hing Sum - were freed due to good conduct time allowance (GCTA), Sen. Panfilo Lacson said last week.
GCTA allows the early release of prisoners over good conduct.
"Knowing na nag-object kami (PDEA) doon sa executive clemency, bakit napalaya pa rin sila through GCTA?" asked Aquino.
(Knowing that we objected to the executive clemency, why were they still released through GCTA?)
"Medyo nalulungkot kami, hindi lang siguro kami kundi lahat ng law enforcement agencies, na inspite na ang haba ng trabahuhin namin para ma-convict itong mga drug lords na ito, and at the same time iyung objection namin, parang hindi yata nabigyan ng weight," he added.
(Knowing that we objected against executive clemency, why were they still freed through CGTA? We, perhaps not just us but all law enforcement agencies, are sad that we work so hard to convict these drug lords and at the same time objected pardon for them, yet these seemed to have not been given weight.)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered immigration authorities to suspend deportation proceedings for the 4 Chinese convicts, Lacson noted in a separate DZMM interview.
Lawmakers this week started investigating the GCTA's implementation following reports that it could benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted in 1995 for the rape-slay of college student Eileen Sarmenta and killing of her companion Allan Gomez.
Just sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon told lawmakers on Tuesday that he signed an August memorandum recommending Sanchez's release, which he said he stopped "because I believe he is not entitled."
Faeldon said he also signed last month release orders for 3 men convicted in the rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in 1997.
Duterte on Wednesday fired Faeldon and ordered hundreds of heinous crime convicts freed under the GCTA to surrender to authorities.