MANILA — Not all heinous crime convicts will be disqualified from getting early release under the revised implementing rules and regulations of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, the justice department said Wednesday.
The IRR borrowed Republic Act 7659's definition of 13 heinous crimes — including rape, murder and treason — as "the most odious, hateful, vicious acts of depravity on the part of the criminal", said Justice Spokesperson and Undersecretary Markk Perete.
However, the IRR also cited a Supreme Court ruling that said an act will only be considered heinous if capital punishment is imposed, he said.
"Inilagay natin iyon sa definition natin na kapag mandatory death iyong punishment, iyan ang magko-constitute ng heinous crime," he told radio DZMM.
(We included that in our definition, that if mandatory death is the punishment, that will constitute heinous crime.)
"Halimbawa, murder. May mga pinatay na hindi ganoon ka-vicious iyong ginamit na proseso ng pagpatay. Ang ipinapataw na penalty d'yan is reclusion perpetua. That will not be considered heinous. Therefore hindi rin s'ya excluded [from the GCTA]," he added.
(For example, murder. Some victims are killed, the manner of which is not that vicious. The penalty imposed there is reclusion perpetua. That will not be considered heinous. Therefore, the convict will not be excluded from GCTA benefits.)
Perete also noted that only the imposition of death penalty is suspended in the country, but convicts may still be penalized with it.
The justice and interior departments revised the GCTA's IRR following public clamor over reports that the law might set free Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor from Laguna province who was convicted in a highly followed 1990s rape-murder case.
The issue also spawned a Senate inquiry, which bared the alleged sale of GCTA credits and led to the firing of Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon, who admitted to recommending freedom for Sanchez.
Aside from defining GCTA exclusions, the law's revised rules also require BuCor to post in a conspicuous place and upload on its website the names of inmates before deliberating on their early release, said Perete.
An accredited civil organization will also be mandated to join the application process, he said.