By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is set to issue an order this Tuesday (August 27) for the creation of task force to review the existing rules on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) that would allow the reduced sentence of inmates.
“Ayaw din natin na yung mga hindi karapatdapat ay makinabang kung hindi naman talaga sila saklawe ng batas na yan (We don’t want undeserving inmates to reap the benefits if they are not covered by the law),” said Guevarra during a radio interview over DZBB on Monday (August 26).
“We just want to make sure,” the Secretary stressed.
Aside from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Guevarra said the task force will be composed of representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), and the Board of Pardons and Parole.
The task force will be reviewing the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10592, the 2013 law which amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and increased the number of GCTA inmates could get.
Just last June, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a ruling which declared that RA 10592 should be applied retroactively and not just prospectively since the RPC requires the retroactive application of penal laws.
While the task force is conducting the review, Guevarra said the processing of the GCTAs will be temporarily suspended.
DOJ spokesman and Undersecretary Markk Perete said the DOJ was hoping that the conduct of the review will be undertaken for 10 days for the benefit of deserving inmates.
“We also hope that the suspension of the processing of the expanded GCTA will also last for 10 days only,” Perete told reporters in a statement.
“We also don’t want the process unduly delayed with respect those really entitled to the benefits of the law,” he pointed out.
The review is being made in the wake of concerns that convicted former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez could be released early due to his accumulated GCTAs.
Sanchez has been convicted of seven counts of rape with homicide for the deaths of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos students Eileen Sarmenta and her boyfriend Allan Gomez in 1993.
He was also convicted of two counts of murder for the 1991 killing of Nelson Penalosa and his son Rickson, the supporters of the political rival of Sanchez.
Aside from these, he also got convicted for violating the Code of Conduct of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.