MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has “mentioned” the possibility of sacking all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials and personnel in charge of processing the good conduct time allowance for prisoners, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Monday.
Go, the President’s long-time aide, made this revelation following allegations that the time credits that could spell an inmate’s freedom were being sold by unscrupulous BuCor officials and personnel.
“Sa dami ng dinaanan ng proseso ng GCTA, I believe na marami ang sumakay at ginamit ito para sa corruption," Go said in a Senate hearing on the GCTA mess.
"Because of this, I am recommending to [Justice Secretary Menardo] Guevarra, at nabanggit na rin ito ni Pangulong Duterte, to relieve all BuCor officials who are handling the process of GCTA. Those who are next in rank will assume their duties."
Witness Yolanda Camilon earlier tagged Staff Sergeant Ramoncito Roque, head of BuCor’s documents division, Correctional Senior Ins. Maria Belinda Bansil at Corrections Officer 3 Veronica Buño in the alleged good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for sale scheme at the New Bilibid Prison.
Camilon, a wife of an inmate at the national penitentiary’s minimum security compound, said Roque’s group offered to work on her husband’s early release for P50,000.
In the Senate hearing, Roque, Bansil, and Buño all denied Camilon's allegation.
Roque admitted receiving the initial P10,000 payoff from Camilon but claimed he returned it a few days later.
Bansil, for her part, denied the allegation that she took P20,000 of the alleged payoff from Camilon.
Buño said he had only met Camilon once and denied ever talking to the latter over the supposed GCTA deal. During the hearing, Camilon played a record of her supposed phone conversation with Buño, who then vehemently denied that she was the person on the other end of the line.
A 2013 law expanding the GCTA for prisoners has come under scrutiny following reports that it could benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted in 1990's rape-murder case that was among the most followed in the country.
The Senate inquiry has since went on to tackle various anomalies allegedly involving BuCor officials.
The DOJ has stopped the processing of GCTA, but Guevarra said during Monday's hearing that inmates would continue to receive good conduct credits.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said witnesses have also surfaced to testify that hospital passes and several other prison benefits were being sold at the NBP.
Go asked the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the alleged sale of hospital passes, as he noted many elderly inmates need medical attention.