Remember the GCTA Law? These solons say it shouldn't benefit heinous crime inmates

The law that reduces the prison time of inmates on account of good behavior shouldn't benefit those convicted of heinous crimes.


This was the stand of Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte and Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Yap, who jointly filed House Bill (HB) No.4649.

The full title of the bill reads, "An Act defining good conduct and providing conditions in the grant of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), further amending for the purpose Article 97 of Act No.3815, otherwise known at the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act (RA) No.10592."

Rep. Duterte and Yap said the enactment of the proposed measure will "plug perceived loopholes" in RA No.10592 or the GCTA Law. 

In 2019, the law--which increased the time credits earned by persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) for good conduct--sparked a controversy when early 2,000 persons convicted of heinous crimes benefited from the re-computation of their GCTA credits and were freed. They eventually returned after then-president Rodrigo Duterte ordered them to surrender or else be treated as fugitives.  

Ex-president Duterte is the father of Rep. Duterte.

“The spirit of RA 10592, which revised the computation of the good conduct time allowance for persons deprived of liberty, is justice with mercy. However, it should only benefit those who deserve it—those who have been reformed and are ready to be reintegrated into the society without posing a threat,” Rep. Duterte and Yap said in filing HB No.4649.  

Under RA No. 659, heinous crimes include treason; piracy in general and munity on the high seas in Philippine waters; qualified piracy; qualified bribery; parricide; murder;  infanticide; kidnapping and serious illegal detention; robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; destructive arson; rape; and importation, distribution, manufacturing and possession of illegal drugs. 

To put to rest the debates over the proper implementation of the GCTA law and institutionalize the exclusion of heinous-crime convicts from its benefits, the two authors urged the Congress to swiftly pass HB No.4649. 

To ensure that GCTA credits are given fairly and judiciously, Duterte and Yap said the enactment of HB No.4649 also mandates the Secretary of Justice to formulate “an objective and quantitative criterion for the evaluation and credit of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) to be used by the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, the Chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and/or the Warden of the provincial, district, or city jail in granting good conduct".

The proposed measure defines good conduct as "the conspicuous and satisfactory behavior of a detention or convicted prisoner consisting of active involvement in rehabilitation programs which include adoption of restorative justice among others, productive participation in authorized work activities or accomplishment of exemplary deeds, ownership of the crime and earnest efforts to seek forgiveness from the victims and their families, and exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary rules and regulations".

The authors pointed out that the earlier incident which  allowed heinous-crime convicts to benefit from the GCTA law “threatened the security of the general public and breached the trust of the Filipino people to the law itself and to institutions involved".

They said that while the GCTA law promotes rehabilitation and restorative justice, it should explicitly exclude those convicted of heinous crimes.