By Genalyn Kabiling and Jeffrey Damicog
Malacañang on Thursday said heads will roll if investigation shows the culpability of any person in the reported inclusion of Janet Lim Napoles – who was convicted of plunder over the pork barrel scam – in the list of convicts supposedly released by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
Following the reports, Malacañang is seeking truth and accountability behind Napoles’ controversial inclusion in the GCTA list.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said “heads will roll” in the BuCor if the investigation shows the culpability of any person for the latest anomaly.
“Let the investigation proceed and let the truth come out and thereafter heads will roll,” he said during a Palace press briefing.
Napoles was supposedly among the inmates freed under the GCTA law in a list given by the Bureau of Corrections to the Senate. The list supposedly showed Napoles was convicted of rape and was released from prison in November 2018.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has clarified that Napoles remains in the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City and has not been released. The businesswoman was convicted of plunder by the anti-graft court over her involvement in the pork barrel scam.
“Janet Lim Napoles has not been released. She remains at the Correctional Institution for Women,” Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete.
The list, which was submitted by the BuCor to the Senate, showed that Napoles was released on November 12, 2018 following the expiration of sentence for a rape conviction.
The list also showed that she has the prison number N211P-2332, which meant she was admitted to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City in 2011.
But the NBP only houses male convicts and Napoles was only arrested in 2013 for a serious illegal detention case concerning the detention of PDAF scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
A Makati court convicted her of serious illegal detention in 2015 which led to her incarceration at the CIW.
The case was eventually dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2017 that resulted in her detention at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, because of other charges she was facing.
On December 7, 2018, the Sandiganbayan convicted Napoles of plunder for her involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. From Camp Bagong Diwa, she was ordered to return to CIW to serve her sentence of reclusion perpetua.
Napoles is also facing multiple charges, including the non-bailable plunder offenses, before the Sandiganbayan also in connection with the PDAF scam.
Earlier, the Palace confirmed that a revamp in the BuCor was in the offing following the questionable release of heinous crime convicts based on wrongful interpretation of the Republic Act No. 10592 also known as the GCTA law.
“I think so, given what we are seeing now in the Senate investigation, mukhang masyadong talamak. Palagay ko gagawan ng paraan ni Presidente iyon [It looks like it is widespread. I think the President will do something about it],” Panelo said in a television interview Wednesday when asked if Duterte was considering a revamp in the BuCor.
The law, which shortens prison sentence of an inmate for good conduct, has been the subject of scrutiny after rape-slay convict Antonio Sanchez was almost released from jail. More than 1,900 heinous crime convicts have been released under the GCTA law but the President has asked them to surrender to authorities or face arrest. (With a report from Jonathan M. Hicap)