MANILA — Sen. Richard Gordon lambasted Monday the release of 1,914 convicted criminals under a law that expanded good conduct credits, which is under legislative inquiry following reports that it might set free Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor found guilty of rape and murder.
The Department of Justice and Bureau of Corrections did not consult the public or issue an advisory on the release of prisoners under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, said Gordon, who led the inquiry as chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Among those freed under the 2013 law were 797 convicted murderers, 758 rapists, 274 robbers, 48 drug traffickers including 4 Chinese nationals, 29 parricide convicts, 5 kidnappers and 3 arsonists, he said.
"Ang lumalabas dito e parang (it's appears as if) it came in like a thief in the night. Nabulaga na lang ang tao na palalabasin na lamang (the public was just surprised that they would be released)," he told DOJ Secretary Menardo Guvarra and BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon.
"Hindi man lang binigyan ng payo o kinuha iyong opinyon [ng publiko]. Sa ating kultura, dapat ipaalam man lang doon sa mga nasaktan ng mga prisonerong ito," he added.
(The public was not even advised or asked to give their opinion. In our culture, those who were hurt by these prisoners should have been at least informed.)
The 1,914 crime convicts were among some 22,000 prisoners freed under the GCTA law since 2014.
Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna was convicted for the 1990s rape and murder of Aileen Sarmenta and the killing of her companion Allan Gomez, in proceedings that were among the most-followed in the country.
Sanchez's adult children and the relatives of his victims were invited to the hearing.