By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said President Duterte is not blaming the previous administration for the erroneous implementation of Republic Act No. 10592, particularly on the release of convicts under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after detained Senator Leila de Lima defended the GCTA law against alleged misapplication and misinterpretation to favor certain convicts following the release of 1,914 inmates supposedly not covered by the measure.
In a statement, Panelo said that Malacañang was just stating facts about the law.
“The President and this representation are not blaming the previous administration and Senator Leila de Lima, who was its Secretary of Justice, for the mess in the implementation of Republic Act No. 10592, particularly with respect to the provisions governing the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs),” he said.
“We are just stating the facts. And the facts remain clear and uncontroverted,” he added.
The Palace official said the people are blaming the present Administration for the GCTA fiasco.
“As for us, we would rather advise Senator de Lima to look in the mirror and ask herself who to blame for the same,” Panelo said.
“It was Senator de Lima and Mr. Mar Roxas, when he was the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, who jointly issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA No. 10592,” he added.
Panlelo said that under Rule IV, Section 3 of the IRR, the grant of credit for preventive imprisonment shall not apply to an accused who is recidivist as defined under Article 14 (9), Chapter III, Book 1 of the Revised Penal Code.
Also not covered by the law are those who have been convicted previously twice or more than times of any crime; and those who, upon being summoned for the execution of their sentence, have failed to surrender voluntarily before a court of law.
Panelo also pointed out that the said portion of the IRR, which was used as basis for disqualifying certain persons from the benefits of GCTA, did not include PDLs who were charged or convicted of heinous crimes because this section shall be related to Rule V, Section 1 of the IRR which listed down who are entitled to the deductions.
Those entitled to the deductions include a detention prisoner qualified for credit for preventive imprisonment for his good conduct and exemplary behavior; and a prisoner convicted by a final judgment in any penal institution, rehabilitation or detention center or any other local jail for his good conduct and exemplary behavior.
“PDLs who were charged of heinous crimes, not being disqualified to be granted credit for preventive imprisonment under Rule IV, Section 3 of the IRR, are therefore entitled to sentence deductions for good conduct under Rule V, Section 1(a) or of the IRR. Those already convicted of heinous crimes, on the other hand, are entitled under Rule V, Section 1(b) of the IRR,” Panelo said.
“These are the rules Senator de Lima crafted and these started all the mess with regard to the issue on GCTA,” he added.
Panelo also reiterated that the sudden increase in the 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 which held that RA No. 10592 should be applied retroactively.
“The practice, however, of granting the benefits of GCTA to persons charged with heinous crimes started way back when the IRR was issued,” he said.
Despite this, Panelo said 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,” he 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.
President Duterte has fired BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon because of his disobedience that resulted in the controversy.