House pushes own GCTA probe

The House of Representatives wants a probe of its own into the controversies surrounding the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law and the early release of convicts of heinous crimes.

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said the investigation would help lawmakers amend the GCTA Law to remove confusion and ambiguity and to establish standards for “good conduct” that will be used to shorten prison terms.

Lawmakers, too, would need to address mismatching provisions in the Revised Penal Code and the GCTA and provide a clear-cut definition of what constitutes a heinous crime.

Nograles said people found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of heinous crimes must not be entitled to early release under the law.

He suggested to define a heinous crime in the death penalty law as a “grievous, odious, hateful offense of such monstrosity as to spark public outrage”—which would cover murder, rape, kidnapping, and dangerous drugs.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said the proposed new implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA Law would be finished and adopted next week.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said on Friday that the Joint Review Committee that included members from the DOJ and the Department of the Interior and Local Government has submitted the draft IRR to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for review.

“Both [Guevarra and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año] will now review the draft IRR and decide on its promulgation,” Perete said.

The panel asked for an extension of its mandate to review and recommend revisions to the Uniform Manual and Guidelines for the implementation of RA No. 10592.

Guevarra vowed to propose several reform measures, including amendments to Republic Act 10575 to give the DOJ tighter control over BuCor.

“I am beginning to think that the law itself that supposedly strengthened the BuCor, and consequently diminished DOJ control over it, may have to be reviewed,” Guevarra said in a text message.

Under RA 10575, the BuCor became a line agency of the DOJ, not a constituent bureau, giving the department only administrative supervision, not control, over the agency.

Guevarra’s proposal came after BuCor officials used RA 10575 to legally justify their release of almost 2,000 inmates who were convicted of heinous crimes. 

“Some form of control over BuCor may be more appropriate,” Guevarra said.

Aside from the “GCTA for sale” racket, various witnesses told Thursday’s Senate hearing about different money-making schemes involving prison officials.

Among these are the entry of prostitutes for high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison and the “hospital pass for sale” scheme, where Bilibid hospital officials are bribed by inmates who fake their illnesses so they can later be confined at a medical facility outside the prison. With PNA

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Topics: House of Representatives , Good Conduct Time Allowance Law , Fidel Nograles
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