By Leslie Aquino
The law on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) should be used to give chance to those who have done well in prison and not to grant favor to the powerful and the rich, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) said on Thursday
“The essence of the law on GCTA is to give chance to those who have done well in prison,” Rodolfo Diamante, CBCP ECPPC executive secretary, said in a statement.
“Hopefully, the law will not be used to grant favor to powerful and rich people,” he added.
Diamante said the Bureau of Corrections, especially the director and the Board of Pardons and Parole need to do proper and appropriate vetting on each prisoner to be released.
There must be “proof” of good conduct, he added.
The CBCP official issued the statement in the wake of the likely release of convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, along with some 11,000 other persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
It became a possibility with the application of a new law increasing GCTA as well as the Supreme Court (SC) decision applying the law retroactively.
Republic Act 10592 amended the Revised Penal Code, expanding the application of GCTA for prisoners.
The news about Sanchez’s possible release has sparked public outrage.
The former Calauan mayor was convicted in 1995 by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court for 7 counts of rape with homicide and sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua over the murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez in June 1993, as well as the rape of Sarmenta.
READ MORE: Sanchez’s possible freedom sparks outrage