Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged her colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to improve the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law instead of repealing it due to misapplication and misinterpretation to benefit favored convicts.
In her Dispatch from Crame No. 586, De Lima said she hopes that her colleagues would review the merits of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10592, or the Expanded GCTA Law, and appreciate its original intention of applying restorative philosophy in the country’s criminal justice system.
“I humbly appeal to my colleagues in both Chambers of Congress to dredge, foremost, into our collective consciousness, the merits of the GCTA Law (both the original and amendatory provisions) as rooted in the restorative philosophy or principles that underlie our modern criminal justice and correctional systems,” she said.
“Let not the legitimacy and the well-settled wisdom of the law be clouded or demolished by its misapplication, abuses in enforcement or wrongdoings on the part of the designated implementors of the law,” De Lima, a former justice secretary, added.
The implementation of the GCTA law gained nationwide attention after the now-aborted release of some 11,000 convicted inmates, including convicted rapist and murderer, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, was met with public anger.
Amid ongoing congressional review of the implementation of the GCTA law, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard J. Gordon are already moving for its repeal by filing Senate Bill No. 993.
The said measure seeks to repeal the amendments in Articles 29, 94, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code as contained under the GCTA law.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained that junking the law is tantamount to regressing from “hard-won triumphs in the legal universe” in the country.
“Let’s improve the law and/or the IRR, if we must. But, please, let’s not abrogate it. To junk this law is to retrogress from hard-won triumphs in the legal universe,” she said.
“To paraphrase a line from a movie which tackles, in part, the fluid majesty of Law, ‘we ought not to be affected by the weather of the day,’ but should be by the ‘climate of the era,'” she added.
In her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 581, De Lima said her colleagues in Congress should not blame the enactment of GCTA law, but determine whether its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) have strictly been followed.