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BREAKING: Ombudsman sacks 3 BuCor officials for GCTA-for-sale scheme

/ 10:54 AM January 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of three Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials for their involvement in the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA)-for-sale scheme.

According to documents signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Tuesday, the anti-graft body found probable cause to dismiss SPO2 Ramoncito Roque, who is in charge of the Inmate Documents and Processing Service; Belinda Tudor Bansil, and Veronica Bustamante Buño for allegedly committing grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

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The Ombudsman gave credence to the testimony of witness Yolanda Camilon, who said during a Senate hearing that the respondents conspired to sell the GCTA for the early release of convicts.

Camilon also testified that they demanded P50,000 from her in exchange for the release of her common-law husband from prison, citing the text messages of Buño to her.

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“Bansil and Buño, who have direct contact with the inmates, took advantage of their positions to communicate with Camilon for pecuniary motives… while Roque, who has access to prison records of inmates, including that of Camilon’s husband, also took advantage of his position by representing to Camilon that he can manipulate the computation of her husband’s GCTA,” the Ombudsman stated in its resolution.

READ: Witness: Early Bilibid release ‘a business’ 

The Ombudsman further said the respondent officials’ denial cannot overshadow Camilon’s “straightforward testimonies” during the Senate hearing.

“Their bare denial cannot prevail over Camilon’s positive and straightforward testimonies during the Senate hearings, as well as her September 23, 2019 sworn statements, that they followed up, demanded, and received money from her,” it said.

The Ombudsman noted that as all three are government employees, they are prohibited from demanding or receiving renumeration for service rendered to government.

The Ombudsman likewise recommended the filing of graft and bribery charges against the three before the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong.

“Wherefore, this Office finds probable cause to indict respondents (…) for one count of direct bribery, committed under Article 210 of the RPC; and one count of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019,” the Ombudsman said.

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The GCTA-for-sale scheme was unearthed after reports surfaced that convicted rapist and killer former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez would be released after consideration of his good behavior inside jail.

Aside from Sanchez, there were thousands of prisoners either in line for release or who have been released already, including almost 2,000 heinous crime convicts.

The three were among the subjects of an Ombudsman investigation last September 2019, after the scandal erupted during a Senate blue ribbon committee.  Other personalities involved are Insp. Benjamin Barrios (supervisor, Maximum Security Camp) PSII Francisco Abunales (New Bilibid Prison superintendent).

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TAGS: Bucor, Bureau of Corrections, GCTA, Good Conduct Time Allowance, Inmate Documents and Processing Service, Office of the Ombudsman, Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Philippine news updates, SPO2 Ramoncito Roque
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