MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Monday that the Department of Justice aims to complete their review of good conduct time allowances (GCTA) for inmates in ten days.
The review of the prison authorities’ guidelines began following the public uproar after the alleged possible release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez.
“Gusto naming bigyan ‘to ng top priority. Ayaw naming patagalin kasi kawawa naman ‘yung mga inmates natin na talagang validly ay meron nang karapatang makalabas dahil sila naman ay makikitang nareporma na, nagbago na. ‘Yang batas na ‘yan ay para sa kanila, (We want to make this our top priority. We don’t want to stretch it out because it’s unfair for the inmates who are eligible for release, who have the right to be free because you can see they’ve reformed, they’ve changed. This law is for them,)” Guevarra said.
Earlier, Guevarra also revealed that the DOJ is mulling a temporary suspension on processing GCTA for inmates. Last week, the Justice secretary said that Sanchez’ release was “very likely” but later said that the GCTA law might not include inmates who are convicted of heinous crimes.
In 1993, Sanchez was convicted as the mastermind behind the Sarmenta-Gomez rape-slay case. He was sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (life sentence, or up to 40 years each).
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that Sanchez’ possible release is no longer an issue.
“I think it is clear that he is not qualified under the law that reduces sentences because of good conduct, so that’s not an issue anymore,” Nograles said in his radio interview with dzBB.
“The President has spoken. It’s over. We have nothing to talk about,” he added.
President Duterte reportedly ordered Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon and Justice Secretary Guevarra to stop Sanchez’ early release after reviewing Republic Act 10592, which includes amendments of the Revised Penal Code. (HGBH/LMO)
Photo from Department of Justice website