By Jeffrey Damicog
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) for more transparency, and disclose to the public the inmates, who could be released early due to good conduct.
The BP made the call amid concerns that former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez might be set free early due to his accumulated Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), despite being convicted for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta, as well as the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
“The IBP supports the public clamor that the prisoners proposed to be released especially those found guilty of heinous crimes be carefully reviewed by the Department of Justice (DOJ),” said IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa in a statement.
With this, Cayosa suggested that “the basis for and evaluation of ‘good conduct’ and the computation of shortened imprisonment be made more transparent.”
“Uploading these on the websites of the DOJ and of the penal institutions as well as informing the private offended parties and their families much earlier, would be welcome,” he urged.
Cayosa pointed out that “doubts, fears, and perhaps the reality that our penal system is flawed or corrupted must be decisively addressed.”
The IBP president believes that whatever flaws the law and its implementation have refinements and safeguards “may be introduced in the implementation or through curative legislation.”
“Anti-corruption, efficiency, and transparency programs in jail management should be relentlessly pursued,” he stressed.
On the other hand, the IBP expressed support for Republic Act 10592, the act which amended the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to give more GCTAs to prisoners, and the Supreme Court’s (SC) June ruling which further expanded the GCTAs by declaring that the law, which was passed in 2013, should be applied retroactively, and not just prospectively.
“The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) believes that R.A. 10592 was a valid act of Congress and was for good purposes: reformative approach in dealing with criminal offenders and to decongest the overflowing jails,” Cayosa stated.
“The retroactive application decreed by the Supreme Court is in accordance with constitutional principles, and the clear mandate of Art. 22 of the Revised Penal Code,” he added.