DOJ probes prisons bureau execs over inmates' release on 'good conduct'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 10:17 AM | Updated as of Sep 04 2019 10:45 AM

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MANILA — The Department of Justice said Wednesday it was investigating whether or not prisons bureau officials could be held liable over the release of prisoners for good conduct.

A total of 1,914 heinous crime convicts have been freed since 2014 due to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, BuCor records showed. Murder and rape convict Antonio Sanchez reportedly applied for release on similar grounds.

While the DOJ lacks "direct control" over BuCor under a 2013 law, it can review and modify the bureau's "quasi-judicial and regulatory functions" like the GCTA implementation, said Justice Undersecretary and Spokesperson Markk Perete.

"Importante sa amin sana na iniakyat ang records para nakita sana namin very early on kung ano ang problem (it is important for us that they submit records so we could have seen what the problem was)," he told radio DZMM.

"Iyong administratibong aspeto naman kung mayroong mga nagkamali o nagkasala, kasama iyon doon sa (the administrative aspect on whether or not someone committed a mistake, that is part of the) functions ng Department of Justice and the Secretary has already said na proper investigative mechanisms will be initiated para those responsible will be held to account," he added.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (L) and Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon (C) attend the Senate probe on the good conduct time allowance law, September 2, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon told lawmakers on Tuesday that he signed in August a memorandum recommending freedom for Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, but he stopped the process "because I believe he is not entitled."

Faeldon said he also signed last month release orders for 3 men convicted in the 1990s rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong.

The justice and interior departments suspended last week the processing GCTA applications to give way to a review, the findings of which are due on Sept. 13, said Perete.