De Lima on GCTA mess: Blame corruption in BuCor, not IRR

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Mr. Duterte for blaming her and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for the misuse of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law to cover up for the corruption within the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

De Lima, a former justice secretary, maintained that Duterte’s effort to pin the blame to her and Roxas for the GCTA mess was his way to hide the rampant corruption in Bucor and prison system which resulted to questionable releases of some undeserving inmates.

“Mr. Duterte’s logic (why he is blaming Sec. Mar and me) goes: Your IRR does not say that my people CANNOT release convicts who have committed heinous crimes. So they release them. Why fault us? Fault them (Sec. Mar and me)!” she recalled in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 595.

“This argument hides the reason for the questionable releases: BuCor and prison corruption,” added De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime.

Last Sept. 10, Duterte reportedly said De Lima and Roxas should be held accountable for the loopholes in the GCTA Law’s implementation because they were among those who drafted the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

The GCTA Law, or Republic Act (RA) No. 10592, amended several articles under the Revised Penal Code, including Article 97 which lays out the allowance for good conduct for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

The controversy came out after the premature announcement of the scheduled release of rape and murder convict and former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, along with several other inmates convicted of heinous crimes.

Regardless of the nature of the crime committed, the lady Senator from Bicol explained that the GCTA law and its IRR require that the PDLs meet the stringent standards and screening process for GCTA.

“The questions should be: do the prison records of the released and almost released heinous crime convicts support the grant of GCTA, thus meriting their early release?” she asked.

“Did they even go through the process mandated under the law, the IRR and the BuCor manual on the GCTA? Did the Management, Screening and Evaluation Committee (MSEC) created under the IRR do its job faithfully?” she added. If the MSEC responsible for properly screening the inmate’s application for release failed to follow proper procedures in scrutinizing the PDLs eligible for release, De Lima maintained that “anomalies and corruption,” and not the IRR, are the real cause of the whole GCTA controversy.

Based on the figures released by BuCor, there are a total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crime who have been granted early release since 2014, a year after the amendment of the GCTA law.

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