Roxas: GCTA for jail detainees, not for prison convicts

MANILA – Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday said the current administration should be blamed for the controversial implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The GCTA law, which makes inmates eligible for early release depending on their behavior in detention, has been under public scrutiny after ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez, a convicted rapist-killer, was nearly released under the said law.

Nearly 2,000 heinous-crime convicts were reportedly freed under the law since 2014, igniting public outcry.

Roxas, who was interior secretary when the law was signed in 2013 during the past administration of President Benigno Aquino III, said the current officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) should be the ones to take the blame, saying they released convicts who should have not been freed.

“Sinong nagpakawala sa kanila (convicts)? Sinunod ba nila ang batas? Sinunod ba nila ang kanilang operations manual? Nasaan ang minutes ng proceedings na nag-apruba dito sa pagpakawala nitong mga kriminal na ito?” Roxas told ANC.

Roxas explained that the GCTA was for detainees who were not convicted. 

Convicts are excluded from the law, added the former senator, who was President Rodrigo Duterte’s rival during the May 2016 presidential race.

“The (GCTA) provision in the implementing rules that’s being referred to, refers to detainees. Ito yung mga napreso pero di pa convicted. They are being detained, while their trial is being heard. Eh yung dun naman sa BuCor mga convicted ito, ibang category yun,” Roxas said.

“Under the law, hindi sila kasama sa programa,” he added.

Malacañang earlier tagged Roxas, former justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, and the previous Aquino administration for the “messy” implementing rules and regulations of the GCTA law. The Palace, however, said it is not blaming the past administration.

Roxas said current officials, particularly from BuCor who approved release of heinous-crime convicts should be investigated.

“Sino ba ang mga opisyal na nag-apruba sa release nitong mga kriminal na ito? Mga convicted criminal itong mga ito, ha? So nasa BuCor ito, hindi nasa DILG (Department of Interior of Local Government).

Duterte has sacked former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon after the latter approved the release of several heinous-crime convicts.

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