(SEPTEMBER 10, 2019) – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Tuesday urged Senator Leila de Lima to explain some of the issues in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
In an interview with One News’ Agenda, PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna asked De Lima as well as former interior secretary Mar Roxas if the loopholes in the controversial law were intentional.
“I don’t know if it was done by Senator De Lima and Secretary Roxas on purpose or intentionally or it was just a pure mistake on their part. [But] ignorance of the law excuses no one,” he said.
Luna also scored the detained senator for excluding a vital provision in the IRR of the GCTA law, which states that heinous crime offenders are ineligible to early release on the basis of good behavior.
“Senator De Lima should explain to the nation why she did that so that everybody would know the
reason behind that,” the commissioner said, noting that the legal hiccups were taken advantage of by “unscrupulous” Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials who erroneously freed nearly 2,000 heinous crime convicts.
“If they did it intentionally, then that’s a crime. It’s very clear in the law, [bakit] mo pahihintulutan ‘yung
prisoners like Sanchez na ma-release? So there must be something there, kaya nga iniimbestigahan namin ‘yung possible corruption,” Luna told One News.
Section 1 of the Republic Act 10592 bans recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the privilege of early release on the basis of good conduct.
In 2015, the Justice department issued the Department Order No. 953, which states that a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua can only be released upon the approval not just of the BuCor chief but also of the justice secretary.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier claimed that De Lima and Roxas failed to “scrutinize well” the law while they were crafting the manual for its implementation, opening doors for varied interpretations of some provisions.
The Department of Interior and Local Government and the DOJ have temporarily suspended the processing of GCTA requests to give way to the review of the law’s IRR.
The review, which started last August 29, is expected to end on Thursday, September 12. (Winona Sadia/AAD)