All prisoners' release must seek DOJ approval: ex-justice official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2019 09:20 AM | Updated as of Sep 10 2019 09:40 AM

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MANILA - The release of prisoners for supposed good conduct should go through the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prevent the alleged sale of jail passes, a former official proposed Tuesday.

This after some 2,000 heinous crime convicts were released under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law since 2013.

"I think a review by a particular undersecretary of all releases at the department level will prevent that," former Justice Undersecretary Ramon Esguerra told ANC's Early Edition.

Esguerra said the "language of the law is very clear" that prisoners convicted of heinous crimes are "disqualified from availing the benefits of the law."

Sacked Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon earlier defended before the Senate the agency's implementation of the law, saying they only followed the practice of the previous administrations.

Esguerra, however, said this was not an excuse.

"Everyone is presumed to know the law. Especially in this particular case, that’s his job," he said.

The former DOJ official said the karpeta or prison records of convicts should be safeguarded amid the investigation of the Senate and the Office of the Ombudsman.

"If they contain the computation for instance and there was an erroneous computation, it is likely that the records may get lost. If you do not preserve these records, we’ll have a big problem," he said.