DOJ considers suspending processing of GCTA of inmates
MANILA, Philippines —The temporarily suspension in the processing of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTAs) of inmates is seriously being considered, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Saturday.
In a message to reporters, Guevarra said that the department is reviewing the existing guidelines of the GCTA, and the Bureau of Corrections will then base its actions on any new guidelines that will come out.
“We’re considering seriously the need to temporarily suspend the processing of GCTAs ’til the BuCor guidelines has been reviewed and firmed up,” the Justice secretary said.
This comes after reports came out saying that former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez would possibly be part of the more than 10,000 inmates up for release, as they would benefit from the Republic Act (RA) 10592, or the law that increased the GCTA given to inmates.
Sanchez, along with six others, was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua (or up to 40 years of imprisonment) for the rape and subsequent murder of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her college friend, Allan Gomez.
However, BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon later clarified that Sanchez will still remain in the national penitentiary, noting the “violations” the former mayor committed while inside the New Bilibid Prison.
When asked what will be the effect of the suspension of GCTA to deserving prisoners, he said it will quicken the process as long as the new guidelines are clear and in order
“They really have to wait a little because of the large number of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) involved,” Guevarra said.
“Please note that GCTAs before and after 2013 are being processed. The retroactive effect given to the law suddenly created a deluge of GCTAs for recomputation,” he added.
When RA 10592 was first enacted in May 2013, its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) stated that the law should have a prospective application. This means that the law on the GCTA recomputation should only apply to PDLs imprisoned from the time the law was enacted.
However, several lawyers questioned the constitutionality of the IRR, with the Supreme Court later deciding that PDLs even before the law was passed should be covered by RA 10592. /jpv
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