Prisoners must be ‘angels’ to qualify for GCTA — solon
MANILA, Philippines — Leyte Representative Vicente Veloso believes that a prisoner has to be an “angel” to qualify for the law that shortens their prison time.
“Good behavior is so generic that it requires more substantial definitions. I think it should be revisited,” Veloso, chairman of the House committee on justice, said in an interview with ABS CBN News Channel.
“You have to be an angel to qualify, even littering is already a ground to exclude you from enjoying that GCTA [Good Conduct Time Allowance],” he added.
Veloso issued this remark after some 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes were freed from jail since 2014.
The lawmaker said these freed convicts could still be rearrested since GCTA is only allowed “only when it is lawfully justified.”
“That’s the condition. It is in fact a condition that applies to both to grant and the revocation. There is nothing to revoke if there is no lawful grant,” he said.
“So as things go, if a convict is not qualified because he is, for example, a convict of a heinous crime, he can just be rearrested,” Veloso added.
According to Veloso, recording of an inmate’s good conduct should be done per week, while offenses should have a “more practical, more realistic” definition.
With this, Veloso tapped religious sectors in the country to help the Bureau of Customs (BuCor) in reforming the lives of the inmates.
“I hope we can trust our religious people more, Muslim, Christians, Catholics. Ask help from them, volunteers that would work in tandem with our paid members in BuCor,” he said.
“Let us clean the house so quickly those entitled to GCTA can benefit from it. It should be rehabilitative, reformative, not retributive because may pag-asa pa rin ang mga tao eh,” he added. /je