By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra refused to be lured into a finger-pointing game and identify who should be blamed for the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law mess.
“We at the DOJ won’t dwell on things that had come to pass, much less waste our time on an unproductive blame game,” he told reporters on Tuesday (Sept. 17).
The Secretary made this point after Sen. Leila de Lima told the Office of the Ombudsman that he be made to explain about the mess.
At the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Ombudsman is currently conducting an investigation over the implementation of Republic Act 10592 due to concerns undeserving convicts may have benefited from the law and allowed early release.
RA 10592 was passed in 2013 and revised provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to grant more GCTAs to convicts and allow their early release.
The Ombudsman has already written to the detained senator to explain why the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of 10592 which was made when she was still justice secretary in 2014 did not enumerate those disqualified to benefit from the law.
De Lima wrote back and told the Ombudsman she is no longer justice secretary and suggested that it “require the explanation you are demanding from the office of the Secretary Guevarra.”
Meanwhile, Guevarra and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año signed on Monday the revised IRR which clearly defined that those excluded from benefiting from the law are recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapists and those charged with heinous crimes.
“The revised IRR reflects our best interpretation of RA 10592 as it was actually crafted, finalized, and signed,” Guevarra also said on Tuesday.
“The current DOJ has done its part. Let Congress do its own,” said Guevarra about proposals from Congress to review RA 10592.