Dispatch from Crame No. 582: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s further Comments on the GCTA Law


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One does not throw away kitchen knives just because malevolent elements can use it for evil purposes. These knives are used to cook food for one’s family and they do not lose their value regardless of their potential for abuse.

R.A. No. 10592, amending the Revised Penal Code provisions on Good Conduct Time Allowance, is meant to accomplish several lofty purposes with respect to our criminal justice system.

Firstly, it rewards sincere reformation and rehabilitation by providing an early release for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who have demonstrated their willingness to reintegrate with society and renewed commitment to law and order.

Secondly, it protects behaving and reforming non-violent crime offenders from corruption due to unnecessary and prolonged incarceration.

Thirdly, it provides an additional incentive for the PDLs which our BJMP and BuCor can use as an effective jail management tool to encourage good behavior.

Finally, it frees up our jails and prisons and allows us to focus our resources in preventing crimes from being committed inside these facilities and in managing the notorious PDLs with high risk of recidivism.

That former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez was even considered for release is an abomination and a misapplication of the law. It is in fact a bastardization of the spirit of restorative justice.

Sanchez, to this day, still refuses to recognize his crimes and pay reparations to his victims. He was found to have possessed illegal drugs in Bilibid and was implicated with drug trading during his imprisonment. A surprise raid in his prison cell revealed that he lived a life of illicit luxury with a flat screen TV and air conditioning.

To simply discount the times he was caught committing these crimes and infractions during his incarceration in considering his eligibility for GCTA is a travesty of justice that spits on the noble intentions of the law. These criminal infractions should outrightly disqualify him for any time allowance and require him to serve his full sentence.

This case has revealed issues on transparency in the process, especially with regard to the victims of the crimes of the offenders applying for time allowance.

Still, the case of Sanchez should not prevent us from pursuing the goals of R.A. No. 10592, a progressive piece of legislation, and should continue to benefit those who have earnestly qualified for time allowance. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 582, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_582)

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