‘Fair, impartial’ trial vs those involved in ‘GCTA for sale’ guaranteed

MALACAÑANG vowed Saturday, September 7, that former and incumbent officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) linked to alleged “good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for sale” would be given “fair and impartial” trial.

This comes following the revelation of Senator Panfilo Lacson about the supposedly “well organized” scheme to release inmates by tampering with their good behavior records, in exchange for as much as P1.5 million each.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the current administration would go after those involved in the so-called “GCTA for sale” practice.

“In any case, the Office of the President assures the public that those involved in corruption or incompetence in implementing the law on GCTA will be prosecuted. Such prosecution will include those who allegedly resorted to the ‘GCTA for sale’ scheme in the Bureau of Corrections,” Panelo said.

“We will be fair and impartial as we will enforce the law not just against the officials who served the current administration but also against those who served during the previous one,” he added.

At present, the Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating the supposed flaws in the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10592 or the Expanded GCTA law that led to the release of some 1,914 heinous crime convicts.

RA 10592 expands GCTA for inmates who showed good behavior, thus allowing their early release from detention facilities.

However, Duterte was infuriated by sacked Bucor chief Nicanor Faeldon’s supposed defiance of his order to postpone the granting of early freedom to prisoners, especially those who are convicted of heinous crimes.

This prompted the President to fire Faeldon, even though he still believes in the competence and integrity of the former BuCor chief.

Malacañang, as well as the Department of Justice, earlier took note of the ambiguities in the IRR of the GCTA law that was crafted by the past administration.

Panelo, however, made it clear that the government was not blaming the past administration for the misapplication and misinterpretation of the GCTA law.

He stressed that the Duterte administration was merely stating the facts that “remain clear and uncontroverted.”

“We reiterate that the sudden increase in number of those purported to be eligible to avail of the benefits of GCTA under this Administration was due to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, a separate and independent branch of the government, which held that RA No. 10592 should be applied retroactively,” he said.

“The practice, however, of granting the benefits of GCTA to persons charged with heinous crimes started way back when the IRR was issued,” Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)


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