Ombudsman prioritizing probe on early release of heinous crime convicts

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2019 05:59 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has started receiving “raw data” and other documents for its “exhaustive” investigation on the controversial early release of some 2,000 heinous crime convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

In a statement Thursday, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said he is prioritizing the issue, pursuant to the mandate of his office. President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday had ordered the Ombudsman to investigate the matter. 

“As of press time, investigators have already obtained raw data and pertinent documents from the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections). Meanwhile, documents are also being gathered from the Department of Justice, Senate and other relevant agencies,” Martires said.

The statement of the Ombudsman came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte sacked BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon for the early release of the inmates.

The President also ordered heinous crime convicts released through the GCTA to be sent back to prison. 

The Ombudsman stressed that since they already assumed jurisdiction over the case, no other agency may conduct a parallel investigation unless authorized by his office.

“In order to avoid any possible conflicting findings, agencies such as the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which announced its intent to also investigate on the matter, should defer to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman,” the anti-graft court said.

The Ombudsman noted that under the Ombudsman Act, the office has primary jurisdiction over cases recognizable by the Sandiganbayan and may take over the investigation of such cases.