By Jeffrey Damicog
Recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapists, and those charged with heinous crimes have now been clearly excluded from benefiting from Republic Act (RA) 10592, also known as the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
This has been expressly indicated in the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the RA 10592 signed on Monday (Sept. 16) by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
“From now on, there will be no confusion and we will follow exactly what Congress intended to do,” Guevarra told reporters following the signing.
“We can safely say that this revised IRR shall be implemented and make sure that deserving PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) shall be given the GCTA and those who are not qualified shall not be given such privilege,” Ano added.
RA 10592 was passed in 2013 and amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) which granted more GCTAs to convicts to pave the way for their earlier release.
Guevarra said “the first and foremost innovation of this IRR” is to clearly identify who are excluded from benefiting from the law.
The revised IRR also defined what are heinous crimes using as basis the repealed Republic Act 7659, the Death Penalty Law, and Supreme Court (SC) jurisprudence.
Guevarra said the Death Penalty Law included as heinous crimes rape with homicide and drug offenses.
Guevarra defended the use of the repealed law as basis for defining heinous crimes in the revised IRR, saying what was repealed by Republic Act 9346 was the imposition of death penalty but other provisions of RA 7659 were untouched.
On the other hand, Guevarra said prisoners convicted of heinous crimes prior to 2013 may still earn GCTAs but based only in the computations indicated in the original RPC.
“Congress is in the process of making or processing amendments to the GCTA law so that all the gaps will be filled and any ambiguities that have been recently discovered could be clarified,” he said.
With the signing of the revised IRR, Guevarra said the suspension on the processing of the GCTAs has been lifted.
Ano and Guevarra also granted the request of the joint DOJ-DILG committee which conducted the review and revision of the IRR for an extension of 60 days so it can review and revise the Uniform Policy and Guidelines to conform with the revised IRR.