Bato sought authority to release inmates as BuCor chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 09 2019 03:58 PM | Updated as of Sep 09 2019 05:49 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, during his stint as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief, sought the authority to release inmates after their respective jail sentences have lapsed, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday.

Guevarra revealed during the fourth Senate hearing on the alleged anomalies in the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) system that Dela Rosa wrote the DOJ to delegate to the BuCor the power to release inmates with expired sentences.

Under DOJ’s Department Order No. 953, the BuCor has to first seek the DOJ’s approval for the release of national prisoners with expired sentences.

Guevarra said he was unaware of Dela Rosa’s letter “until fairly recently.”

“According to the draft memo addressed to me, it made mention of a memo dated June 4, 2018 from Usec. Ronald Dela Rosa requesting for the grant of authority for the director general to approve or act upon the following request enumerated in DO 953,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra said the DOJ did not act on Dela Rosa’s request.

Dela Rosa told reporters he made such request "because we were the ones being charged criminally by the PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) for failure to release them on time and not the DOJ."

BuCor officials recently came under fire after senators found out that they did not seek the DOJ’s approval over the release of prisoners with expired sentence.

They were also accused of abusing the so-called good conduct time allowance to allow the early release of some allegedly favored inmates.

A 2013 law expanding the GCTA for prisoners recently came under scrutiny following reports that it could benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted in 1990's rape-murder case that was among the most followed in the country.

Dela Rosa, as BuCor chief from April to October 2018, also greenlighted the release of some 120 heinous crime convicts.

The Palace said Dela Rosa should be probe over the releases.