BuCor: 1,914 heinous crimes prisoners given early freedom due to GCTA
MANILA, Philippines — Almost 2,000 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted their early freedom because of good conduct time allowance (GCTA) since Republic Act No. 10592 was signed into law in 2013, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) revealed Thursday.
A total of 1,914 convicts for heinous crimes were among the 22,049 prisoners who were released from jail after their GCTAs were recomputed, BuCor legal division chief Frederic Anthony Santos told reporters on Thursday, August 29.
Of these numbers, majority were convicts for murder (797) and rape (758). Others were robbery with violence (274), violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (48), parricide (29), kidnapping with illegal detention (5) and destructive arson (3).
A joint committee of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is presently reviewing the implementing rules and regulations of RA 10592, which amends the Revised Penal Code articles on the application of GCTA, among others.
The processing and recomputation of GCTA would be suspended during the 10-day review.
Among the issues to be resolved was whether those convicted of heinous crimes were eligible for GCTA.
Asked what would happen to them should the DOJ-DILG committee decided to exclude those convicted of heinous crimes to be eligible for GCTA, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra answered, “We have to study and discuss that issue very carefully and thoroughly.”
The public opposed the reported early release of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was sentenced to seven life terms in 1995 for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines students Eileen Sarmenta and killing of her friend, Allan Gomez.
BuCor previously said Sanchez was among the around 11,000 prisoners who were found to have completed their sentence after crediting their recomputed GCTAs.
It said that he was among those set for release in two months, based on their initial recomputation of Sanchez’s GCTA, he had served for 49 years already – exceeding his 40-year maximum sentence.
After facing public backlash, BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon backtracked and clarified Sanchez may not be eligible for GCTA since he was convicted of heinous crimes of rape and murder, and had not exhibited good conduct during his imprisonment in the New Bilibid Prison.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself expressed opposition to the impending release of Sanchez, noting that the law explicitly excludes convicts of heinous crimes from GCTA. /kga
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