Opposition senator says good conduct time being sold to favored inmates
MANILA, Philippines—An opposition senator on Monday (Sept 2) expressed suspicion that the release of convicts based using good conduct as basis is “for sale” and favored selected prisoners.
At a hearing in the Senate on the implementation of Republic Act 10592, providing for an increase in the number of days to be credited to good conduct time allowance (GCTA), Sen. Risa Hontiveros claimed that rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez and six of his henchmen were not “random beneficiaries” of the Supreme Court ruling to apply the law retroactively.
She said reports on the pending release of Sanchez, once the powerful mayor of Calauab town, Laguna province, and the release of several Chinese drug lords “already stoked anger and rightly so, the people were outraged but what is more outrageous is information that we are getting.”
“Sanchez et al were not random beneficiaries of the retroactive effect of RA 10592,” Hontiveros said.
“It appears that they were favored, special treatment in other words,” she said.
“I’m talking about this system of ‘GCTA for sale’ which according to prison insiders is rampant now,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros questioned the eligibility of Sanchez to benefit from the law because he continued ti commit a crime while in prison.
Hontiveros grilled Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon over his claim that there was no release order for Sanchez although evidence of such an order was leaked to media and dated Aug. 20.
She asked Faeldon why Sanchez was considered eligible for good conduct release when the former mayor violated prison rules twice—2006 and 2010.
According to Faeldon, 200 inmates have been released since the Supreme Court ruled in 2019 to apply the law retroactively.
The release of the inmates, he said, was approved by the Management Screening and Evaluation Committee of the BuCor.
“Based on the finding of the committee, are these 200 without violations while in jail?” Hontiveros asked Faeldon at the hearing in a mix of Filipino and English.
Faeldon answered that he presumed there was “regularity” when the committee approved the release.
Hontiveros said she has a list of names of convict she said are more deserving to be released than an inmate who stashed shabu, or crystal meth, under a statuette of the Virgin Mary, referring to a case attributed to Sanchez.
In 2010, Sanchez was charged with illegal drug possession after P1.5 million worth of shabu was found stashed under the Virgin Mary statuette inside his special cottage at the New Bilibid Prison./TSB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.