Bill filed to stop abuse of terms of convicts’ release from prison
MANILA, Philippines—A bill was filed at the Senate on Wednesday (Aug 28) to prevent what its author, Sen. Richard Gordon, said was the abuse in computing good conduct time to set inmates free which became controversial following an attempt to cut short the jail time of rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez from seven life terms to just 24 years.
Gordon, in Senate Bill No. 974, said his proposed measure sought to protect the law from abuse by “powerful personalities whose years of imprisonment have not changed a bit the crooked and villainous character that made them commit crimes for which they have been convicted.”
Gordon’s bill, which seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code, would introduce additional measures for the implementation of Republic Act No. 10592 or the law providing for good conduct time allowance or GCTA.
Among the bill’s proposals is to digitize jail records “to ensure there would be prompt and accurate information of the time served by a prisoner.”
“Computation of remaining service must be transparent and available to the public,” the bill said.
The proposal would require the Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to also use computers and computer programs “to monitor the progress of detainees or prisoners convicted by final judgement, capable of incorporating time allowances that may be granted to each of them.”
Gordon’s proposal would also disqualify from good conduct release inmates proven to have violated prison rules. It was apparently referring to the case of Sanchez, who was listed for release on good conduct despite being found stashing P1.5 million in crystal meth, or shabu, inside a Virgin Mary statuette in his special cottage at the New Bilibid Prison.
Sanchez, former client of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, had been sentenced to seven life terms for the rape and murder of UP Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, the murder of her friend Allan Gomez and two other murder cases.
Sanchez’s name was included on a list of 10,000 convicts set for release as a result of good conduct.
R.A. 10592, which was passed in 2013, increased the number of days that may be credited as good conduct time and allowed the additional deduction of 15 days for each month of study, teaching, or mentoring service./TSB
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