By Jeffrey Damicog
Newly appointed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag on Friday took his oath of office.
“At around 1: 30 this afternoon, Director General Bantag has assumed his post after taking his oath of office before Secretary Menardo Guevarra,” Justice spokesman and Undersecretary Markk Perete told reporters.
Just last Wednesday, Bantag met with Guevarra at the Department of Justice (DOJ), a day after Malacañang announced the appointment.
During their meeting, Guevarra told Bantag to prioritize the “clean up [of] the GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance) mess.”
Aside from this, Guevarra also told him to also focus on the “full computerization” of the BuCor and to “stop illegal drug trade inside.”
Bantag replaced former BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon who got sacked due to the problematic implementation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10592.
READ MORE: Duterte: I’m firing Faeldon
RA 10592 was passed in 2013 and revised provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to grant more GCTAs to convicts and allow their early release.
However, concerns were raised that undeserving inmates might be benefiting from the law after it was revealed that rape-slay convict former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez and other prisoners heinous crimes were up for release.
Prior to becoming the BuCor chief, Bantag served as regional director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) region.
He also previously served as jail warden of the Parañaque, Manila, and Malabon city jails.
In 2016, Bantag was the jail warden when a powerful blast hit the Parañaque City jail that left 10 people dead. He was among those injured in the blast.