Government officials expect a 20-percent decrease in the prison population now that various jail facilities in the country have for the first time a uniform guideline for the time allowances and service of sentence for persons deprived of liberty.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Committee today launched the Uniform Manual on Time Allowances and Service of Sentence which would be used by both the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
“The decongestion is the effect that we will have if we have this uniform manual,” Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo, chairman of the DOJ-DILG Joint Committee, told reporters.
Orceo estimate jail facilities would get decongested by 20 percent because of the uniform manual.
Prior to the uniform manual, Orceo lamented “the Bureau of Corrections and the BJMP, the local jails, have different approaches on how to give time allowances to persons deprived of liberty.”
“So what happened in the process is we have a dysfunctional administration of justice that is detrimental to the person deprived of liberty,” he pointed out.
“You can just imagine the BJMP has a different computation and it’s not yet automatically credited when the persons are convicted and transferred to the Bureau of Corrections,” he added.
The BJMP, which is under the DILG, handles jail facilities which detain persons facing trial, while, the BuCor, which is under the DOJ, overseas penal colonies where convicted individuals serve time.
“Ngayon, uniform na natin yan. Pinag-isa na natin yun sistema ng dalawang ahensiya para sa persons deprived of liberty (Now it’s uniform. Now there is only one system for the two bureaus for the benefit of persons deprived of liberty),” said Orceo.
The undersecretary noted training would be conducted for “the local jails on how to compute and how to give time allowances to persons deprived of liberty.”
He added copies of the manual would have been handed to “the courts for them to be knowledgeable of the existence of the manual.”
The uniform manual was created pursuant to Republic Act 10592, the act amending several provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
The manual indicates that the law authorizes the credit of preventive imprisonment and a revision of good conduct time allowance of PDLs.
The law also allows the BuCor director general, the BJMP chief, and wardens of provincial, district, municipal and city jails to grant time allowances for good conduct, studying, teaching or mentoring, and loyalty.
Previously, only the BuCor director was authorized to grant such privilege which reduces the actual time a PDL serves a sentence for complying with rules and regulations of a facility.