BuCor chiefs ‘quite likely’ liable for freeing heinous crime convicts, says Guevarra
MANILA, Philippines — Previous chiefs of the Bureau of Corrections, including Nicanor Faeldon, who released convicts of heinous crimes are “quite likely” to face administrative charges, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Speaking on CNN’s “The Source” on Wednesday, Guevarra said past BuCor director generals “made a mistake” in applying the Good Conduct and Time Allowance law even to inmates charged with grace crimes. Under the GCTA law, inmates recorded to have had good behavior could be granted freedom before serving their sentence.
While believes that previous penitentiary chiefs may be held liable, Guevarra also thinks they did not break the law “willfully.”
“Because that’s how they understood how the law should be applied but it’s not the proper way to do it,” Guevarra added. He deferred making a judgment on whether they violated the law since they were operating on their own interpretation.
At a Senate hearing last September 2, Faeldon said: “As the bureau is concerned and based on the Uniform Manual, which was later on passed, Section 3 of RA 10592, talks about Article 96 of the Revised Penal Code, it does not exclude any convict of any crime.”
He added: “What is very clear here is the process they used was never changed since 2014, up to this day.”
Guevarra insisted that the Department of Justice’s interpretation of RA 10592 or the GTCA law, convicts of heinous crimes are ineligible from benefiting from a clean record while behind bars.
The Office of the Ombudsman is currently conducting a probe into the GCTA controversy and alleged corruption at the Bureau of Corrections.
Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr. (Zamboanga del Norte) claimed that the Ombudsman is also investigating Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who sat as BuCor chief in 2018, The STAR reported.
Earlier BuCor data released showed that 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes were released through the grant of their GCTA since 2013.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the freed convicts to surrender themselves to authorities before September 19, or they would face warrantless arrest.
The president also put up a P1 million bounty for their capture “dead or alive, but better dead.”
Guevarra said that Duterte’s directive should not be taken literally. — Kristine Joy Patag