MANILA — Sen. Frank Drilon on Tuesday urged the executive department to rearrest 3 men convicted in the rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong, which could lead to a potential "test case" before the Supreme Court.
Convicts Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño were granted early release from prison under a 2013 law that expanded good conduct credits, Bureau of Corrections Director Nicanor Faeldon said in a Senate inquiry on Monday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, said he did not approve their release orders.
Drilon said this violates a 2015 department order that gave the head of the justice department oversight powers over the implementation of the good conduct time allowance law.
The process of getting a Supreme Court ruling on GCTA's implementation could start with re-arresting the 3 convicts in Chiong rape-slay, said Drilon.
"Puwede nilang arestuhin iyung napalaya dahil dito sa good conduct time allowance at hayaan mo silang magdala ng kaso sa Korte Suprema, kukuwestyunin iyung pagka-aresto nila muli... Iyon ang test case," he told radio DZMM,
(They can arrest those freed because of good conduct time allowance and let them bring the issue to the Supreme Court, question their rearrest. That will be the test case.)
The Chiong sisters were raped and killed in July 1997 in Cebu. Seven suspects were convicted and brought to the maximum security prison in Muntinlupa City except for one, Paco Larrañaga, who is detained in Spain.
The release order for 3 of the convicts in the Chiong case was dated August 19, 2019, 4 days before a memorandum for release that Faeldon signed for Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted for the 1990s rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her companion Allan Sanchez, Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier noted.