Committee on Justice and Human Rights Joint with Constitutional Amendments and Revisions of Codes, Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and Finance + Blue Ribbon Committee
03 September 2019
Statement & Questions of Senator Bong Go
I am directing my question to Secretary Guevarra.
You stated yesterday that there is a joint committee formed to address the issues surrounding GCTA, the Filipino people deserves to know the proposed remedies regarding the release of convicted felons through GCTA. What are your proposed remedies? Will they be rearrested? How will you implement the re-arrest?
Pwede bang gawan ng paraan legally? Kaysa magkakalat ng lagim ulit, mas delikado pa ang publiko kaya shoot-to-kill na lang dapat. Kapag ayaw bumalik, kapag lumaban at ayaw bumalik, o may basehan po ang pag-re-arrest, pwede bang gawan ito ng paraan? ‘Yun po ang gustong marinig ng publiko.
(Secretary of Justice Guevarra answers)
Thank you Mr. Senator. On the matter of the amendment of the Implementing Rules and Regulations as well as the guidelines being followed by the BuCor and also BJMP with respect to the computation and appreciation of GCTA, good conduct I mean, and other benefits like special time allowance for loyalty, etcetera, this joint committee has already been constituted. We have issued appropriate joint department order and the joint committee, I supposed is on the third day of work. We have given them a time frame of 10 working days within which to complete their review of the existing IRR and guidelines and to submit the same to the Secretary’s concern, that means myself, and to Secretary Año of DILG for approval. Now, as soon as we completed this process of revising of the IRR to specifically include explicit and concrete statement that these benefits will not apply among others to people or PDLs convicted of heinous crimes, then we shall act accordingly in relation to those guidelines of IRR once they have already been in placed. As I explained earlier, Mr. Senator, we have a plan of action. We just want to make to do first things first. We have a plan of action to put in place, first, the revised IRR, the revised guidelines, so that we have already have a legal basis as well. Of course we are very much aware of the existing jurisprudence of the matter and we are bent on considering that favorably about the case of People vs Tan as correctly cited by Senator Drilon yesterday and we are taking that jurisprudential rule into very serious considerations so we are taking action on your question, Mr. Senator. It’s just that we want to finish revision of the implementing rules and regulations.
Thank you very much, Secretary Guevarra. Anyway, I will give my closing remarks. As I have mentioned yesterday and several times before, the Filipino people want answers and solutions, not endless debates and more questions.
The law may be ambiguous, but what is clear to me is that there is either negligence or corruption in the way our correctional system is being handled. I say to the Filipino people – mananagot ang dapat managot.
Yesterday, Sec. Guevarra pointed out what is lacking in the law. Today, I have solutions. I have filed Senate Bill No. 1003 to clearly state the intent and policy of the law not to extend the benefits of GCTA to prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes.
In this bill, I added a provision that will very clearly state that persons who have been convicted of heinous crimes will not be eligible to be granted time allowances.
To serve as a guide, I added a provision that lists heinous crimes.
To eliminate corruption, I also added a provision stating that any release of prisoners on the basis of time allowances shall be subject to review.
Congress will also know what is happening with the releases, as the Bureau of Corrections will be required to furnish the Legislature with a report twice a year.
All of these will form part of our continuing fight against corruption and criminality, and illegal drugs.
Hindi ko na po hahabaan. Baka mapagalitan po ako ni Mr. Chairman. Medyo mahaba ito sir. Ang mahalaga po, narito tayo para sa interest ng bawat Pilipino. Maraming Salamat po.