PACC may include ex-BuCor chiefs in GCTA mess probe
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said Wednesday that its investigation on officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law may include former BuCor chiefs.
PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna said the PACC “cannot single out” BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon after 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes were released due to the GCTA since the Republic Act 10592 — which shortened the prison sentences of convicts based on good conduct while serving time — was signed into law in 2013.
“We have to be very fair also. He (Faeldon) just stepped into the picture just a few months ago. Nagsimula ito noong (This started in) 2014 so probably we will call Franklin Bucayu, who became also BuCor chief, another person, [Benjamin] Reyes, and others during the time of the Aquino administration,” Luna told ABS-CBN News Channel.
Luna however said the probe may not include Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, who headed the BuCor before Faeldon, since the senator belongs to the legislative branch of government.
“There is a problem with that because the Constitution may bar us from inviting him. Because he’s not only a senator. He represents a separate and independent and co-equal branch of government, and it may cause a clash of institutions,” he said, explaining that PACC is a “mere adjunct” to the Office of the President.
Luna said that it will be a “different story” if Dela Rosa volunteers to appear before PACC to face investigation too, but he said he advises against it.
Luna’s pronouncement seems to differ from another PACC commissioner Greco Belgica, who earlier said that the agency may invite the senator in its probe to “give clarifications [and] give clarity to the issues that may come up.”
During a Senate hearing on Monday, Faeldon said the BuCor has never changed the way it has implemented RA 10592 since the law’s implementing rules and regulations were released in 2014. He argued that under the IRR, no convict is excluded in the granting of the GCTA.
But for Luna, ignorance of the law by prison officials excuses no one from the liabilities resulting from the alleged irregular enforcement of the GCTA law.
“They thought that was right because that was the practice, but you see, ignorance of the law excuses no one. Just because it’s a practice does not make it right or legal,” he said. /muf
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