Faeldon fumes, says it was first time he heard of ‘GCTA for sale’ scheme

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2019 03:19 AM

Reacting to a witness testimony during a Senate hearing Thursday night, Faeldon said the people behind an alleged racket offering the early release of convicts for cash should be punished and deserve to die. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Sacked Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday said he was outraged by the revelation of a witness who alleged the bureau’s officials and personnel sold “good conduct time allowance” credits for New Bilibid Prison inmates who want to walk free early.

Yolanda Camelon told the Senate blue ribbon and justice committees that she shelled out P50,000 to a group led by Staff Sergeant Ramoncito Roque, who heads the BuCor’s documents division, in exchange for the early release of her husband who is detained at NBP’s minimum security compound.

Camelon said Roque failed to fulfill his promise to work on the March release of her husband. She also alleged that Roque and his cohorts did not return her money.

Faeldon, who attended late Thursday night’s hearing on the alleged corruption of the GCTA system, said he was not aware that such a scheme exists.

“Kung totoo ang revelation kanina doon, ang tingin ko doon masahol pa ’yan sa heinous crimes, you know why? Kahit maliit na pera o malaki, ’yung hinihingan nila ng pera, mga preso, they are the lowest member of our society, tapos aapihin mo pa ng ganyan. Dapat d’yan bitayin nang paulit ulit, ang ganyang mga tao,” Faeldon said.

“I’m still crying inside my heart kasi ang preso di mo dapat ginanyan, pagkaperahan mo. Trabaho mo ’yan na protektahan sila. Trabaho mo na ayusin ’yung gobyerno.”

The implementation of Republic Act 10592, which expanded the GCTA of prisoners, has come under scrutiny after the justice department announced that convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez could be released from prison because of supposed good behavior.

Faeldon has been accused of favoring Sanchez and other high-profile convicts in the granting of GCTA. He insisted he followed the law and its implementing rules in ordering the release of convicts who exhibited good behavior while in jail.

But senators said Faeldon violated several rules when the BuCor did not seek the Department of Justice’s approval for the release of convicts.

About 2,000 heinous-crimes convicts have been released since 2014 on account of good behavior. The government is now scrambling to bring them back to jail.

Questions have also been raised as to whether the BuCor correctly computed the GCTA of prisoners and properly interpreted the provisions of the law, which the Supreme Court, in a June ruling, said should be applied retroactively. 

Families of the released convicts' victims have expressed anguish over allegations of corruption in the system, originally meant to decongest prisons and given chance to deserving reformed convicts.