“An independent Board should be constituted composing of people from DOJ (Department of Justice), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), academe, the Church, and not only from BuCor, to deliberate strictly on any application for commutation,” Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo suggested.
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BuCor inmate review should include Church, academe — lawmaker
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Men of the cloth and those from academe should also be included in the board that reviews the conduct of inmates inside New Bilibid Prison, and should not be limited to those from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), an administration lawmaker proposed.

“An independent Board should be constituted composing of people from DOJ (Department of Justice), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), academe, the Church, and not only from BuCor, to deliberate strictly on any application for commutation,” Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo suggested.

According to the neophyte lawmaker, families of victims, as well as relatives of the convicted felons, should also be consulted to ascertain that applicants are able to adapt successfully to mainstream society once they are released from the national penitentiary.

She added that such a mechanism will ensure that any former convict that will blend again in civilized society will be accepted by the public, and his family will be spared from any form of discrimination.

Castelo urged the corrections bureau, under the leadership of Director Nicanor Faeldon, to thoroughly amend their selection process for eligible inmates who have shown good behavior, before granting them the good conduct and time allowances under Republic Act 10592.

She said the controversy brought about by the case of convicted rapist-murder, and former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, has inadvertently brought a message to change the BuCor’s procedures and come up with solutions so that this will never occur in the future.

Castelo stated that the  present procedure is so subjective, deceptive and prone to corruption. She proposed that the BuCor and BJMP establish a mechanism that is fair, foolproof, and corruption free in the evaluation of applicants for commutation of jail sentences. 

‘Absolutely unqualified’

Administration, and even opposition lawmakers, also opposed the impending release of Sanchez, insisting heinous crimes such as rape-slay should not be included among inmates’ good conduct time allowance. 

“Let us just select the crimes that should be covered by GCTA. If the crime involved is rape or massacre, I don’t think it is right or proper to include them in the GCTA. I think the rights of the victims are far more important than the inmates,” Rep. Eric Yap said.

The congressman, who is from party-list ACT-CIS (anti-crime and terrorism-community involvement and support), also wrote Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to “put on hold” the release of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) like Sanchez.

“As representative of ACT-CIS, we are mainly concerned of the imaginable consequences of the early release of thousands of PDL benefitting from GCTA rule,” the neophyte administration lawmaker said.

“There is a need for a strict review and careful implementation of the law to ensure that those who will be released went through proper rehab and are ready to be reintegrated in society,” Yap wrote in his single-page letter to the DOJ chief.

Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. of party-list Ako Bicol also joined the fray. “He is absolutely unqualified for the law that favors inmates who show exemplary behavior. To do otherwise is to cause ignominy and more suffering to the victims’ families.

“Established facts and records would reveal that convicted rapist and murderer Sanchez violated prison rules. How in the world is smuggling illegal drugs and contraband in his jail cell… constitute good behavior?” the opposition lawmaker asked.

“Only those who showed good behavior can avail of the conditional expanded GCTA,” he said.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS GCTA NEW BILIBID PRISON
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