By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Tuesday said the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) was issued to stave off abuses by conniving jail officials and affluent convicted inmates who were erroneously freed.
“In issuing this new IRR, we seek to be fairer and more just in the implementation of the law. We want to implement it consistent with the intent and spirit of the law. Thus, we have clarified all ambiguous provisions that we think led to past abuses in its implementation,” said Año.
On Monday the DILG and the Department of Justice (DOJ) signed and issued the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10952, the GCTA.
Año explained the major feature of the revised IRR is that “it now clearly provides that persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who are charged or convicted of heinous crimes, recidivists, habitual delinquents, and escapees are disqualified from earning any of the time allowances provided for under RA 10952, namely: GCTA, Credit for Preventive Imprisonment (CPI), Time Allowance for Study, Teaching and Mentoring (TASTM) and Special Time Allowance for Loyalty (STAL).’’
“The new IRR also firmed up and expanded the definition of ‘Good Conduct’ by not limiting it to conspicuous and satisfactory good behavior, but also defining it as ‘non-commission of any crime or offense during the period of imprisonment,” he added.
He said the new definition immediately disqualifies those who commit crimes and other infractions while inside the prison from the coverage of the said law.
The DILG chief added that another new feature of the IRR is that the list of PDLs qualified for release based on presumptive entitlement to time credits and allowances shall be posted in three conspicuous places within the prison or jail facility as well as posted in their respective websites before they are released.
“This is for greater transparency,” Año said.
As provided for in the GCTA Law, the new IRR provides that 20 days may be deducted from detention or service sentence during the first two years of imprisonment; a deduction of 23 days during the third to fifth year; 25 days during the following years until the tenth year; and 30 days during the eleventh year and onwards.
“But instead of granting the time allowances on a monthly basis, the new IRR now provides that the granting of credits will depend on the time of incarceration of the PDL and will be on a cumulative basis so that the general conduct of the PDL will be taken into account and not just his monthly behavior,” he explained.
He reiterated that while the assessment of good conduct will be done on a monthly basis, the accrued time allowances shall now be granted by prison and jail authorities during the : a) first two years of imprisonment; b) fifth year of his imprisonment; c) 10th year of his imprisonment; d) 11th year of his imprisonment and every year thereafter.
The new IRR also recognizes the existing Management, Screening, and Evaluation Committee (MSEC) in each prison or jail facility.
The 2019 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10592, which amends the Revised Penal Code or RA 3815, aims to help in the reformation and rehabilitation of PDLs while upholding justice and retribution.
Surrender of Heinous Crime Convicts
The DILG called on all local chief executives (LCEs) to take a look at the list of heinous crime convicts freed under the GCTA Law released by the BuCor and ask them to surrender to police authorities before the September 19 deadline.
“We ask the local government officials and barangay captains to look at the list and see if any of them are living under their jurisdiction. If there is, then it is their obligation to encourage these PDLs to voluntarily surrender to the PNP,” said Año.
According to Año, 612 have already surrendered to the PNP and BuCor as of Monday
“The President gave them a grace period of 15 days to turn themselves in and if they do not, then the PNP will arrest them,” said Año.