Drilon says there is ‘negligence, if not corruption’ at BuCor
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday alleged “negligence, if not corruption” within the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) as he backed the suspension of the processing of the possible early release of inmates under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.
“There is negligence, if not corruption, at the Bureau of Correction,” Drilon said in a statement.
“I support the DOJ’s decision. I could not help but suspect that there are shenanigans happening inside the BuCor in favor of the rich and powerful inmates, including former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez,” the senator added.
Drilon, who was the secretary of justice during the conviction of Sanchez and his six bodyguards over the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her companion Allan Gomez, called the suspension a “welcome development”.
“The temporary suspension may affect prisoners who are really entitled for an early release based on good conduct time allowance. But with the people, including myself, worrying about the release of prisoners like Sanchez, the temporary suspension, pending review of the guidelines, is a welcome development,” Drilon said.
The Department of Justice on Saturday said they will inform the Supreme Court of the need to suspend the processing of the early release for good conduct of thousands of prisoners, including Sanchez.
The suspension came after questions of Sanchez’ eligibility for early release under Republic Act No. 10592, which increased the GCTA given to inmates, surfaced.
The GCTA provides additional time to be deducted from an inmate’s prison sentence as a reward for his or her good behavior.
But Drilon said the records of the inmates who were said to be qualified need to be reviewed, especially if their violations were recorded.
The senator said that Sanchez should not be released from prison because of his violations, even if heinous crimes are excluded from the coverage of the GCTA Law.
In 2010, P1.5 million worth of shabu (crystal meth) was found in Sanchez’ prison cell, while in 2015, luxury items such as television and air-conditioning unit were discovered in his cell.
“We must look into the records or what we called the prisoners’ karpeta, particularly that of Sanchez, and let’s find out if his violations were properly recorded,” Drilon said.
“How much does it cost for Sanchez’s karpeta, or that of any powerful and rich inmates, to be cleared of violations?” he added.
INQUIRER.net has sought the comment of the BuCor but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.
Others freed in past due to GCTA law?
Drilon also asked if there were other prisoners who had been released in the past under the GCTA law.
“Are there prisoners that have been freed in the past based on the good conduct time allowance law? Are there inmates, who were sentenced guilty of heinous crimes, that have been released before the DOJ ruled that those guilty of heinous crimes are excluded from the coverage of the law? If yes, how do we plan to bring them back to prison?” Drilon asked.
Further, the senator also slammed “reckless pronouncements” of some BuCor officials on the implementation of the GCTA law, saying that it was the bureau that announced that Sanchez had served 49 years based on the GCTA.
Drilon has filed a resolution asking the Senate to probe the eligibility of Sanchez for an early release from prison. /je
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