Families of victims should be consulted before granting GCTA: Chiz

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2019 11:11 AM | Updated as of Sep 17 2019 11:26 AM

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MANILA - Former Senator Francis Escudero on Tuesday said the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law should be made more transparent to prevent corruption and abuse of the law.

"Make it transparent. Under the current penal system that we have, consulting the family of the victims or the public is not a requirement," Escudero said on ANC's Headstart.

"Perhaps that is a fresh avenue for a new law to be passed requiring consultation or requiring a list be published. Anyone who applies for probation that goes through the court. There is due process and the family of the victim gets to object or file their opposition."

The Senate has conducted a series of investigations into the release of heinous crime convicts under the GCTA law. It is also probing allegations that GCTA is for sale.

The GCTA law came under fire following reports that it has freed some 2,000 heinous crime convicts and that former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez imprisoned for the rape-murder of 2 students in the 1990s could also benefit from it.

Among those who benefited from the GCTA law were convicts in the 1997 rape-slay of sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong.

RA No. 10592, or the expanded good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, has led to the release of some 2,000 heinous crime convicts since its enactment in 2013.

But the Sorsogon Governor believes that lawyers would feast on another legal problem.

"Even the old Revised Penal Code provision of 1932, we did not change that under the GCTA law. It says that GCTA once granted cannot be revoked."

"I don't know how that will be interpreted in light of evidence that may be presented or shown that it was arbitrarily granted or granted in exchange for money."

He said it would be up to the courts to decide.

Escudero also wants those who accepted bribes or who failed to implement the law properly be held liable for the mess.

"Perhaps they are barking at the wrong tree by saying that the law is wrong or defective. Let's give it a chance to be implemented correctly and properly first," he said.

"Now it's slowly coming into fruition and coming to the fore that indeed GCTA has been sold or is being sold or was sold in the past by who or by someone higher than the Bureau of Corrections director or lower than him."