By Genalyn Kabiling
There should be no more room for confusion on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law following the revision of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the revised IRR of Republic Act No. 10592 now include a “clear and categorical” provision that those charged with heinous crimes are exempted from the benefits of the law.
“We commend the Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government for promptly completing the 2019 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10592,” he said.
“We hope that the revisions and corrections made in the instrument would address the inaccuracies, as well as the loopholes of its earlier version which generated confusion among the officials in implementing the law, and the corresponding backlash of the public against them,” he added.
He noted that the IRR, previously issued by former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas in 2014, indicated that persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) charged with or convicted of heinous crimes are not excluded from the benefits of the GCTA.
Now, he said the revised IRR has made it “very clear and categorical that those PDLs convicted of or charged with heinous crimes shall not be entitled to any sentence deduction” based on the GCTA law.
The revised IRR likewise adopted the definition of heinous crimes under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law, and those crimes specifically declared as such by the Supreme Court, according to Panelo.
“This leaves the enforcers of the law with no room for confusion,” Panelo said.
In addition, he said the Management Screening and Evaluation Committees are now mandated to invite representatives from the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) and the National Prosecution Service (NPS) of the Department of Justice, and from accredited civil society organizations to appear as observers during their deliberations.
The committees are tasked to assess, evaluate, and recommend to the BuCor director-general and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) chief the grant of GCTA benefits to qualified inmates.
He said giving such observer status was “pursuant to this administration’s commitment for transparency.”
Panelo, meantime, urged the BuCor officials to study the new IRR crafted by the DOJ and DILG secretaries. He said the BuCor officials should then transmit the correct and up-to-date information to their staff for their proper guidance.
RA 10592, which allows reduced prison term for inmates due to good behavior, has been put on spotlight following the public outrage over the almost release of rape-slay convict Antonio Sanchez.
Around 1,900 heinous crimes convicts were still released under GCTA law but the President has ordered them to surrender or else be considered fugitives. The Palace argued that heinous crime convicts should have not been freed since they, along with recidivists, habitual delinquents, and escapees, are not covered by the GCTA law.