AUGUST 30, 2019 – Nearly 2,000 inmates convicted of heinous crimes have been released since 2014 courtesy of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, an official from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said.
Of the 22,049 prisoners covered by Republic Act No. 10592, 1,914 were granted early freedom, according to BuCor legal division chief Fredric Anthony Santos.
The latest BuCor data showed that among the convicts released had committed murder (797), rape (758), robbery with violence or intimidation (274), and drug violations (48).
Also freed were parricide convicts (29), those who committed kidnapping with illegal detention (five), and destructive arson (three).
Santos explained why the identities of the freed prisoners were withheld despite recent public clamor for transparency.
“Numbers only, no identities. Baka hunting-in pa ng complainant. [Hindi] puwedeng sabihin [ang] names unless may court order,” he said.
The GCTA shortens an inmate’s jail time on the basis of good behavior. The Supreme Court had also ruled that the law may be applied retroactively.
The prisons bureau released the data after drawing public outrage over the possible release of convicted rapist-murderer and former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez.
Citing prison violations, officials later said Sanchez might not be eligible for a GCTA grant.
SURGE IN APPLICANTS
From zero releases in 2013, the BuCor witnessed a “deluge” of applications for the GCTA grant in the recent years.
Sixty-two convicts enjoyed early release in 2014, 105 the following year, 212 in 2016, 335 in 2017 and 384 in 2018. The most number of convicts set free so far is at 816 this year.
To further review the rules, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Justice department have temporarily suspended the processing of GCTA requests.
“Hindi suspended [ang] implementation ng batas, just the recomputation [of the GCTA of prisoners],” Santos said. (Winona Sadia/ AAD)