September 11, 2019
The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended for six months without pay 30 officials and personnel of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) suspected to have been involved in the questionable release of prisoners.
“This Office finds that the evidence in the form of testimonies of witnesses and public documents showing the anomalous release of prisoners convicted of heinous crimes/offenses appear to be strong,” the Ombudsman said in its order issued on Sept. 9, 2019.
The Ombudsman has started investigating the release of convicts, including those imprisoned for heinous crimes, under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.
The BuCor officials face charges of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered their immediate preventive suspension as their continued stay in office “may prejudice the cases filed against them.”
The respondents were Ramoncito Roque, Benjamin Barrios, Gerardo Padilla, Francisco Abunales, Celso Bravo, Melencio Faustino, Cherry Caliston, Ruelito Pulmano, Emerita Aguilar, Raymund Peneyra, Jomar Coria, Roy Vivo, Wilfredo Bayona, John Edward Basi, Abel Dr. Ciruela, Roger Boncales, Eduardo Cabuhat, Lourdes Razon, Mary Lou Arbatin, Susana Ortega, Anthony Omega, Antonio Calumpit, Roberto Rabo, Jones Lanuza, Victor de Monteverde, Maribel Bancil and Veronica Buño.
In three separate orders issued on Tuesday, September 10, the Ombudsman also ordered the preventive suspension without pay of Joel Nalva and Frederic Anthony Santos of BuCor, and Marie Fe Marquez of the Correctional Institution for Women.
The Office of the Ombudsman also asked former Justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima and former Interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd to submit an “explanation/clarification” of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 10592 or the “GCTA Law.”
RA 10592 amended several articles of the Revised Penal Code.
The Ombudsman wants de Lima and Roxas to explain “why the provisions in the IRR does not contain the same disqualifications as enumerated (supra) in the last paragraph of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 1 of RA 10592.”
Article 29 excludes recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the coverage of the law.
In a Facebook post, Roxas said he would answer all questions thrown at him.
Heads to roll
On Tuesday, Malacañang vowed that heads would roll at the BuCor as the Ombudsman investigates officials allegedly involved in GCTA scam.
“We want the truth to come out so that heads will roll,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
With a reports from CATHERINE VALENTE
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