By Hannah Torregoza
The revised implementing rules and regulations of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law recently signed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) adhered closely to the intent of Republic Act No. 10592.
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon made this assessment as he weighed into the revised IRR released by the DOJ and the DILG.
The revised IRR includes a clarified provision stating that “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapists and those convicted of heinous crimes” are disqualified to benefit from the GCTA law.
To guide them on what heinous crimes are, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the revised IRR adopted the definition of heinous crimes under Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law as well as Supreme Court jurisprudence.
“I think this is the right interpretation,” Drilon told reporters in an interview.
“First of all, let’s clarify that before there was RA 10592, there is already a system of crediting time allowance for good behavior. What the law did was to expand the benefits, and added a number of days for credit,” he pointed out.
“However, the law also excluded from its benefits those who are guilty of heinous crimes,” Drilon said.
What is now applicable to the case of former Calauan Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted of rape and murder, is the old law because RA 10592 is not applicable to him.
“And under the old law, per our computation, he has only served 27.8 years, assuming he has not committed any violation, because his actual confinement as a finally convicted prisoner is 20 years since 1999 up to 2019, so 20 years,” he said.
“The period which he was incarcerated as detention prisoner, is not included in the computation in the old law. Therefore, under the old law, he is entitled to only to a credit of 7.8 years, plus his 20 years of actual incarceration, ang total na na-served niya ay 27.8 years. Therefore, he has to stay in jail for another 12 years and 2 months,” Drilon explained.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go also welcomed the release of the revised IRR of the GCTA Law.
Go expressed belief that under the revised IRR, Sanchez would not be released from prison early.
“Hindi makakalabas si Sanchez dyan sa (revised) IRR. Paano makakalabas si Sanchez dyan sa bagong IRR e excluded nga, nakalagay na dun na hindi kasama ang heinous crimes, recidivists, escapees,“ Go pointed out.
The DOJ and the DILG moved to introduce revisions in the GCTA law’s IRR after the Senate and House investigated the Bureau of Corrections’ (BuCor) botched plan to release 11,000 inmates convicted of heinous crimes.
The fiasco prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to dismiss then BuCor Chief Nicanor Faeldon and order for the return of all 1,914 prisoners who have already been released due to good conduct.