MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's administration is to blame for the early release of heinous crime convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, detained Sen. Leila De Lima said Thursday, rejecting accusations that the administration of former President Benigno Aquino was at fault.
Duterte's spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier this week said hundreds of heinous crime convicts walked free due to the 2013 law's "messy" implementing rules and regulations penned by former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and De Lima, who served as justice secretary in the previous administration.
He reiterated this Thursday, saying De Lima had crafted implementing rules and regulations that deviated from the intent of the law.
The implementation of GCTA prompted a Senate inquiry following reports that it could free 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.
It was Panelo, former defense counsel of Sanchez, who referred his executive clemency plea to the Board of Pardons and Parole in February, said De Lima. Such request was denied.
Just sacked Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon, meanwhile, issued in August a memorandum recommending Sanchez's early prison release due to supposed good conduct, the detained senator said.
"Sa oras ng laglagan sa Administrasyong Duterte, iisa lamang ang palaging palusot ng mga opisyales nito, ang ituro ang nakaraang Administrasyong Aquino... Ang kakapal ng mga apog nila!" De Lima said in a statement.
(In the time of finger-pointing in the Duterte Administration, its officials had just one excuse: to blame the previous Aquino Administration. They're shameless.)
"Sila ang mga pumapalpak, sila ang mga nambabastos sa batas, at sila ang gabundok na ang mga kasalanan sa taumbayan, kami pa rin ang sinisisi. Unbelievably shameless!" she added.
(They are the ones who messed up, they are the ones who disrespected the law, they are the ones with a pile of sins against the public, yet they are still blaming us. Unbelievably shameless!)
Duterte on Wednesday fired Faeldon and ordered convicts freed under GCTA to surrender to authorities.
The Senate earlier this week started investigating the GCTA, the processing of applications for which was suspended by the justice and interior departments to give way to a review.
Some 22,000 prisoners, including about 2,000 who were convicted of heinous crimes, have been freed since 2014, BuCor records earlier showed.