ECQ disrupts finalization of revised GCTA manual

Published April 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog

Had it not been for the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the revised uniform manual of the expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law could have been finished in March, said Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday, April 18.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra announces during a press briefing in Malacañang that the matter concerning the closure of the resorts in Boracay is currently one of the top priorities that are being discussed by the cabinet citing that it would not only concern the environmental aspect of the issue but the economic impact as well. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Guevarra pointed this out in response to the growing clamor to release persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who are “vulnerable” to the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“It was supposed to have been completed last month, as targeted, but it was disrupted by the ECQ,” the DOJ chief disclosed.

Despite this, Guevarra assured that the processing for the release of PDL based on their GCTA continues, even though the revision of the uniform manual is not yet completed.

“Actually, the processing of GCTAs in clear cases continues,” the Secretary said.

“But in borderline or doubtful cases, BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) would rather wait for the issuance of the revised GCTA manual,” he added.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete earlier said the revised uniform manual is set “for finalization.”

“Like in most other transactions we handle at the moment, we are setting meetings by video con(ferencing) to finalize the manual,” the DOJ spokesman had revealed.

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 revised 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 former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez and other unqualified PDL convicted of heinous crimes could be released due to their GCTAs.

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