Justice department to 'closely monitor' BuCor reforms


Posted at Oct 13 2019 11:43 AM

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday said he has ordered the agency's oversight committee to "closely monitor" the reforms under new Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag.

Guevarra made the remark amid reports that the demolition of illegal structures in the national penitentiary made the harsh living conditions even harder, with some inmates claiming they were forced to sleep outside.

"I have directed the interim DOJ oversight committee to closely monitor reforms being initiated by the new BuCor leadership and ensure that such reforms are being implemented within the bounds of the law and with due consideration for the well-being of inmates in our penitentiaries," he said.

"Supervision includes calling attention to actions which are improper, unlawful, or way out of bounds. It also includes instituting disciplinary action whenever warranted."

BuCor and the Philippine National Police last week began the demolition in a bid to stop preferential treatment and alleged illegal business dealings in the country’s main penitentiary. 

The bureau came under fire following its alleged questionable implementation of the good conduct time allowance law (GCTA), allowing heinous crime convicts to be granted early release.

A Senate probe on the GCTA also revealed that even under President Rodrigo Duterte, who is tough on the illegal drug trade, drug lords continued to operate from behind bars.