In The Know: Rolito GoPhilippine Daily Inquirer
On July 2, 1991, construction magnate Rolito Go stormed out of a diner in San Juan, Metro Manila, after a fight with his girlfriend.
Go got into his car, drove against one-way traffic on Wilson Street and nearly slammed into a vehicle driven by Eldon Maguan, 25. He got off his car, shot Maguan, and fled. Unknown to him, a security guard in the area managed to get down his plate number.
Go surrendered on July 8, and a complaint for frustrated homicide was filed against him. The charge was amended to murder 24 hours later, after Maguan had died.
Go’s trial ran for two years, but on Nov. 1, 1993, four days before Judge Benjamin Pelayo was to hand down a decision finding him guilty and sentencing him to life imprisonment, Go escaped. In 1996, he was arrested at a pig farm in Pampanga.
Go made several attempts to get his sentence commuted and gain executive clemency, but the Supreme Court rebuffed his pleadings.
Maguan’s mother, Rosario, urged then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to reject pleas for the commutation of Go’s sentence, saying the convict had not shown remorse.
In October 2008, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Go was eligible for presidential pardon because he had served half of his term.
In March 2009, Go was given live-out status and allowed to leave the maximum security complex at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on orders from Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Oscar Calderon, who had approved the recommendations of the bureau’s classification board.
Live-out inmates are allowed to walk around the prison compound without security escorts, but are required to report to Camp Bukang Liwayway, the minimum security complex, by 5 p.m. They are also required to wear brown prison shirts to distinguish them from other prisoners.
In May 2011, Go’s name was dragged into the investigation of special privileges inside the NBP when the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an inquiry into how convicted killer and former Batangas Governor Jose Antonio Leviste was able to leave prison for a supposed dental appointment without official authorization.
A senior BuCor official, who asked not to be named, confirmed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Go had been frequently leaving the prison compound to visit the office of a lending company he owned in nearby Soldier’s Hills Village.
The source said Go would usually leave the NBP at around noon and return a few hours later. “He’s been doing that since the time of [former BuCor chief] Oscar Calderon,” the source said.
The controversy forced BuCor Director Ernesto Diokno to go on leave. He later resigned.
In August 2011, administrative charges were brought against five BuCor officials, who were also suspended for 90 days because of the unofficial trips of Leviste outside the national penitentiary. Inquirer Research