Guevarra: Those who committed the most atrocious crimes vs people to be banned from GCTA
BACOLOD CITY –– Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said those who have “committed the most atrocious and reprehensible crimes against the people” would be prohibited from availing of the increased good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits that would allow them early release from jail.
The loopholes of the Internal Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10592 that have created a backdoor to freedom for those who have committed heinous crimes would be plugged, Guevarra said in his speech at the launching of the Bacolod City Justice Zone at the Bacolod Government Center in Bacolod City.
“The very real danger posed to the peace of the community and public order by the early release of those whose capacity for vengeance and for re-inflicting pain upon victimized families has compelled us not only to review and plug the possible loopholes in the IRR, but to put a temporary halt in the process that may magnify such risks,” he said.
Gueverra was joined by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Ano during the event.
Through RA 10592, he said lawmakers sought to increase GCTA credits in favor of certain prisoners who showed good conduct while in jail.
“This jibes with the avowed purpose of the penal system, which is the reformation and rehabilitation of those who have violated laws but remain morally salvageable. To a lesser extent the law is also meant to help ease the high congestion rate in the jails and penitentiaries,” he said.
The Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government were tasked with drafting the IRR that was completed in 2014.
Only those serving sentences after the effectivity of the law in 2013 would benefit from the increased GCTA credits under RA 10592.
However, in June this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the law be given retroactive effect.
The Bureau of Corrections estimated that about 11,000 persons deprived of liberty to be potential beneficiaries of the retroactive application of the law on increased time allowances.
Guevarra said soon after the flaws in the IRR became apparent, the DOJ deemed it fit to review the IRR and suspend the processing of GCTA credits.
He said a joint committee of the DOJ and DILG convened in Manila on Friday to study the ramification of the Supreme Court’s directive to retroactively apply RA 10592.
The joint committee’s work will correct flaws and recommend amendments to the IRR.
“The exclusions bar those who have committed the most atrocious and reprehensible crimes against our people from availing of the benefits of the law, “ he said.
Guevarra said the joint committee is mandated to complete the task in ten working days so as not to unduly delay the release of prisoners who deserve to benefit from the law’s objective.
Guevarra said 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes had been released because the law did not make a clear statement as to whether or not they are included or excluded.
“That is why we are reviewing the rules to make sure that we are able to screen properly those who are entitled to the benefits of the GCTA and so those not entitled are not able to use it as a backdoor mechanism for freedom,” Guevarra said.
“It’s the intent of that law not to include persons convicted of heinous crimes,” he added. /lzb
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