INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday, September 3, that persons convicted of heinous crimes, including violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, who were released based on the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) should be thrown back in jail pending the review of the law.
“Para sa akin, ‘yung mga nakagawa ng heinous crime at mga drug lords, head ng drug syndicates, ‘yung mga Chinese (drug lords), dapat ibalik natin ‘yan. Nakikita natin na hindi maayos ‘yung pagka-compute ng GCTA credits. Kung nagkamali tayo, dapat icorrect natin ‘yung mali,” he said in a press conference.
“We have to check kung sino itong mga convicts of heinous crimes na ito. Kung ito ay serious killer ay talagang delikado tayo diyan,” he said.
Heinous crimes, under Republic Act 7659, refer to "grievous, odious and hateful offenses and which, by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and perversity are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society." These include rape, drugs, murder, bribery, parricide, kidnapping and arson.
Earlier, the DILG together with the Department of Justice ordered the suspension of the GCTA for 10 days pending the review on the Implementing Rules and Regulation and the Uniform Policy and Guidelines on the computation of credits and allowances provided under Republic Act No. 10592.
The two departments created a joint committee led by DOJ and DILG undersecretaries that is conducting the review.
The implementation of the GCTA sparked outrage following reports on the impending release of former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted of the rape and murder of University of the Philippines student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her friend Allan Gomez in 1993.
The Senate committee on justice and human rights has launched an investigation on the matter.
Año shared the view of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde that the inmates who were released through the GCTA will be considered fugitives once irregularities are established in its implementation.
“Magkakaroon naman ng tracker teams ‘yan. Ang paghahanap sa mga ito ay hindi katulad ng paghahanap sa underground personalities. Most of these people are probably back on their homes now,” he said.
“Kapag ganyan, hindi na kailangan ng warrant ‘yan, kasi kapag ki-nancel mo ‘yan they become fugitives, and fugitives are actually wanted people and ‘yung standing warrant niyan ay tuloy-tuloy,” he added.
During Monday’s Senate hearing, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he was not certain if the released inmates may still be brought back to jail if the GCTA will be declared invalid but noted that they will review the law.
Senate Minority Leader Senator Franklin Drilon however said that the inmates can be brought back to jail since it will appear that they did not undergo the proper process for their liberty. (SunStar Philippines)