DOJ: We may suspend processing of GCTA


The DOJ has been pressured into suspending the process of releasing inmates based on good conduct time allowance. This followed after public backlash regarding the possible release of Mayor Sanchez.

Sanchez, along with six other individuals, was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. They were sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment. This would total to 280 years, but the law only allows a maximum prison time of 40 years.

Suspension of the GCTA law, however, creates a legal problem because the DOJ, being under the executive, has no option but to implement the law which has been created by Congress. Dura lex sed lex; the law may be harsh but it is the law. The Executive Branch of the Government has the power and duty to see to it that laws are faithfully complied with. In other words, suspension of the law is a violation thereof.

SOURCE: DOJ wants Congress, SC to clarify good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law. By CNN Philippines Staff. Published Aug 25, 2019 1:58:44 PM. https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/8/25/DOJ-Congress-Supreme-Court-good-conduct-time-allowance.html

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it may suspend the processing of GCTAs pending review of its guidelines by a task force.

Guevarra said they will set a deadline for the review of the guidelines, in consultation with the Bureau of Corrections, the Board of Pardons and Parole, and other relevant agencies “to avoid any undue prejudice to the rights of [persons deprived of liberty] who have validly earned GCTAs.”

“We expect the processing to pick up greater speed once the guidelines have been reviewed and firmed up,” he said.

He added that they will inform the SC of their plan to suspend the processing of GCTAs.

RA 10592 at least doubled the previous GCTAs and expanded the time allowances to those who are under preventive imprisonment.

Under the law, enacted in 2013, GCTAs are computed based on the following guidelines:

[1] During the first two years of imprisonment: 20 days of deduction for each month of good behavior;
[2] During the third to the fifth year: a reduction of 23 days for each month of good behavior;
[3] During the sixth until the 10th year: 25 days of deduction for each month of good behavior;
[4] During the 11th and successive years: 30 days of deduction for each month of good behavior; and
[5] Another deduction of 15 days for each month of study, teaching or mentoring.

Then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas released the implementing rules and regulations of the law in March 2014, which provides for its application only to those who were convicted after the enactment of the law.
But in June, the SC ruled in favor of a petition by inmates of New Bilibid Prison calling for the retroactive application of the measure. This allowed those who were convicted from way back 1990, like former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Sanchez, to benefit from the GCTA.

But following public backlash, officials changed their tune on Sanchez possibly benefiting from the expanded CGTA law.

Aside from the Sarmenta-Gomez rape with murder case, Sanchez and his henchmen were also convicted of the murder of father and son Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa. Nelson was an ally of Sanchez's political rival, Dr. Virvilio Velecina. It has also been reported that Sanchez was nabbed with drugs inside his cell, once even stashing it inside a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Lawmakers have sought congressional probes on the application of the expanded CGTA law.

SOURCE: DOJ wants Congress, SC to clarify good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law. By CNN Philippines Staff. Published Aug 25, 2019 1:58:44 PM. https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/8/25/DOJ-Congress-Supreme-Court-good-conduct-time-allowance.html

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