DOJ to release vulnerable prisoners to save them from COVID-19

Published April 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Jeffrey Damicog

Even without the revised uniform manual on the expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, the Department of Justice (DOJ) assured on Friday, April 17, it will proceed with the release of selected persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who are “vulnerable” to the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete (MANILA BULLETIN)
DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete disclosed that revisions being made by the DOJ on the GCTA uniform manual is set “for finalization.”

“But even pending finalization of the manual, and for humanitarian considerations, the release of PDLs in the vulnerable/high risk category not guilty of heinous crimes or of other serious offenses is being expedited,” said the DOJ spokesman.

Perete noted that the DOJ has been working on the revision of the GCTA uniform manual despite the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“Like in most other transactions we handle at the moment, we are setting meetings by video con to finalize the manual,” he said.

“Almost done except for some issues that need to be resolved,” Perete also said.

In August last year, the DOJ formed a committee headed by Undersecretary Deo Marco to review the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and the uniform manual of the expanded GCTA law, Republic Act 10592.

RA 10592 was passed in 2013 and amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) which allowed the earlier release of convicts due to the increase of GCTAs granted to them.

However, the review of the law’s IRR and uniform manual was prompted due to concerns that rape-slay convict Antonio Sanchez and other unqualified PDLs convicted of heinous crimes could be released due to their GCTAs.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano signed the GCTA revised IRR last September 16, 2019.

Perete noted that “the processing of GCTA credits and allowances has been returned to BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) since December.”#