September 11, 2019
MOST of the convicts released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law are “recidivists” or habitual offenders and are therefore not qualified for early release, an official of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said on Tuesday.
PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna said they asked the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for a list of the convicts who were released through the GCTA.
“We are only focusing on 1,914 heinous crimes. I have data, although I have yet to validate but the numbers are really astronomical,” Luna told reporters.
“‘Yung attention na-shift doon sa (The attention has shifted to) heinous crime convicts, what we do not tackle is ‘yung mas marami na (the larger number of) recidivists na pinalaya ng (who were freed by the) BJMP, wardens, and even ng (by) BuCor,” he said.
More than 20,000 convicts had been freed since 2014 under the GCTA, 1,914 of whom were found guilty of heinous crimes, according to data from BuCor. The rest were convicted of petty crimes and have been in and out of prison for the same offenses.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said in a separate interview on Tuesday that there was also a need to focus on convicts of heinous crimes as the 15-day deadline given by President Rodrigo Duterte for them to surrender was about to end.
Belgica issued his statement as he presented to the media Pastor Pedro Villarin Jr., who was released in January 2018 after being convicted of two counts of homicide in 1992. One case carried a penalty of 6 years up to 17 years while the other was 6 years and a day up to 20 years.
Villarin will be turned over to BuCor for reevaluation, said Belgica.
Belgica said Villarin has completed the minimum sentence and was more than qualified for release even without the GCTA.
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