Testifying at Monday’s resumption of hearings on the Good Conduct Time Allowance, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed Senator Ronald dela Rosa, then Bureau of Corrections had requested that the authority to grant early release of inmates be delegated to the prisons chief.
Guevarra told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee and the justice committee, both chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, that he received a letter in 2018 from Dela Rosa asking that the authority to release prisoners on account of expired sentences be delegated to the Bucor chief.
Asked to comment on his request, Dela Rosa said he wanted to avoid being charged criminally for failing to release prisoners on time.
Guevarra said he “wasn’t aware of the letter until recently,” but later admitted that the request had come from Dela Rosa. He added that no action was taken on the request.
Under the Department Order 953, signed in November 2015, an inmate sentenced to reclusion perpetua may not be released without prior approval of the Justice secretary.
The Justice secretary must be the final approving authority for the release of an inmate sentenced to life imprisonment.
Sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon earlier testified that he did not seek the Justice secretary’s approval when he recently signed a memorandum for the release of prisoners who were serving life sentences for heinous crimes, including convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez and several drug lords.
Dela Rosa, who was the police director, also served as BuCor chief from April to October 2018.