By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday, Feb. 20, expressed suspicion that Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Division chief Frederic Santos may have been slain due to his alleged involvement in the irregular implementation of the expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
Meanwhile, Guevarra has issued a Department Order (DO) No. 082 on Wednesday, Feb. 19, which directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the killing of Santos.
With the investigation under way, Guevarra said that is “very likely that it might have something to do with the GCTA issue.”
In the DO, the Secretary directed the NBI “to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the killing of Atty. Frederic Anthony E. Santos, Chief, Legal Division, BUCOR on 19 February 2020 in Muntinlupa City and, if evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against persons found responsible therefor.”
Guevarra also instructed NBI Director Dante Gierran “to submit reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up directly to the Office of the Secretary within thirty days.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Santos was still aboard his vehicle when he was gunned down by unidentified gunmen while he was about to fetch his daughter from the Southern Side Montessori School in Barangay Poblacion in Muntinlupa City.
Republic Act RA 10592, also known as the expanded GCTA law, expanded some provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) concerning the GCTA and allowed the early release of convicts.
However, anomalies in its implementation were uncovered when rape-slay convict former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez was about to be freed last year despite his lack of qualifications to get benefits under the GCTA law.
Based on the expose, rich inmates convicted of heinous crime would pay huge sums of money to BuCor officials to increase the time that would be deducted from their prison terms.