Duterte: Corrupt BuCor officials ‘have to go’
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to fire Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials involved in corruption in the agency and spare those who only implemented the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law in “good faith.”
Duterte said he cannot blame BuCor officials who only applied the law, noting that even lawyers including Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed doubts on the clarity of the GCTA law.
However, those proven involved in corruption will surely be fired, the President stressed.
“Everybody will have to go. Alam nila ‘yan… not because maybe they were exercising a questionable provision of the law and arrogating upon themselves or to themselves that power. Wala sa akin, if it is done in good faith, hindi kita anuhin,” Duterte said at the inauguration of the Bataan Government Center and Business Hub.
“Pero kung sabihin mo na (may) bayaran, that is another story. I will hit you not because the law was in the limbo but because of corruption,” he added.
The President has said that the GCTA law can be subjected to various interpretations, adding that the government will ask the Supreme Court to clarify its vague provisions.
Guevarra has proposed amendments including a clear classification of whether the law should be on the reformative and rehabilitative side, or punitive or retributive, and clear definition of heinous crimes.
The implementation of Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA law, which shaves years off a prisoner’s jail time due to good behavior, has come under scrutiny after the justice department announced that convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez might be released from jail because of alleged good behavior.
According to BuCor data, close to 2,000 heinous-crime convicts were released through the GCTA law since 2014.
However, recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes are not entitled to benefit from the GCTA law.
A Senate inquiry also found out that a “GCTA for sale scheme” exists in the New Bilibid Prison.
Yolanda Camilonm, a wife of an inmate, has told a Senate panel that she had paid P50,000 to secure the release of her common-law partner. She also named BuCor officials allegedly involved in the scheme.
Duterte has already ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation into the alleged anomalies. He has also fired Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief.
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