'Masyado tayong incorrigible': Panelo wants officials to 'forget' GCTA for prisoners

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 11:28 AM

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The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said authorities should "forget" granting good conduct credits for the early release of convicts to curb alleged corruption in the prisons bureau.

"My suggestion there is forget about the good conduct thing. If you are sentenced to 15 years, you serve 15 years, whether you're a good or bad inmate. If you're served 40 years life imprisonment, you serve that. You take out the discretion and there will be no corruption," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told ANC.

"When the law gives you that kind of punishment, [it's] precisely because you committed a crime... Binabayaran mo 'yung lipunan. E ano kung mabuting tao ka na d'yan? It doesn't matter, may ginawa ka na nga e," he added.

(You are paying back society. So what if you're a good person there? It doesn't matter, you already did something bad.)

A reformative justice system will not work in the Philippines, Panelo said, reasoning: "Tayong mga Pilipino, masyado tayong incorrigible e kaya kailangan talaga strong hand, disiplinang totoo."

(Filipinos are too incorrigible so we need a strong hand, genuine discipline.)

Several Senate witnesses earlier claimed that freedom under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law was being sold by corrupt officials for as high as P1.5 million.

GCTA credits came under scrutiny following reports that it has freed some 2,000 heinous crime convicts since 2014 and might benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Laguna imprisoned for a widely followed 1990s rape-murder case.

A Senate inquiry into the issue also revealed corruption allegations against the Bureau of Corrections, including the alleged sale of hospital passes for prisoners feigning illness to continue their illegal activities.

Panelo, a former legal counsel of Sanchez, recommended revamping the BuCor leadership and requiring a second opinion from private doctors before giving inmates hospital passes.

ANC, September 23, 2019