‘4 Chinese drug lords released since June’

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
â4 Chinese drug lords released since Juneâ
Bureau of Corrections legal office chief Frederic Santos and internal affairs head Llewellyn Binasoy explain why they cannot identify the beneficiaries of good conduct time allowance, in a press conference at the BuCor yesterday. Russell Palma

1,914 inmates convicted of heinous crimes freed since 2014 

MANILA, Philippines — Even before the controversy over the aborted release of convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, four convicted Chinese drug traffickers were released from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last June, Sen. Panfilo Lacson revealed yesterday.

Lacson said he got a copy of the names of some of the convicts released recently and learned that four of them were Chinese drug traffickers.

“These are the names of Chinese nationals who were recently released from imprisonment at the Building 14 of maximum security compound of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) this June 2019. They are Chan Chit Yue, Kin San Ho, Ching Che and Wu Hing Sum,” Lacson said as he hinted at possible anomalies in the release.

“I’m getting more details from my source at the NBP,” Lacson said when The STAR asked for more information about the released convicts.

“Recently released (from the) maximum security compound June 2019. Not just August to be transferred to BI (Bureau of Immigration). All these Chinese drug lords had been convicted for violation of illegal drug laws,” Lacson added.

“They were released to the custody of the BI for possible deportation. But these are convicted Chinese drug lords that have already been released as of Aug. 16,” he said.

BuCor officials said they could not identify prisoners released on good conduct or other reasons. But BI officials confirmed Lacson’s findings, saying the four Chinese were turned over to them on June 26. 

Melvin Mabulac, deputy spokesman and chief of the national operations center of the BI, said the BuCor turned over to them five Chinese convicts.

Mabulac said the five Chinese are currently detained at the BI’s detention facility in Taguig City pending deportation proceedings. 

Mabulac confirmed the names of the four Chinese named by Lacson. He identified the fifth as Hu Wai Tang.

Mabulac said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente and two BI deputy commissioners have already signed the summary deportation order of the five Chinese last Aug. 23. He added he does not know when they will be deported. 

Lacson, on the other hand, said the release of the convicted Chinese drug lords will be among the issues to be pursued in a scheduled inquiry of the Senate.

Lacson clarified the whereabouts of the three convicted Chinese drug lords are unknown as only one convict was turned over to the BI.

If the drug lords were released in June, the basis of the release could not be based on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act 10592.

The Supreme Court has ruled all prisoners regardless of whether already serving his/her sentence or undergoing preventive imprisonment may qualify for the reduction of their sentence pursuant to the time allowances under RA 10592 only on July 1.

Lacson said he will ask for the list of names of prisoners released and who are about to be released as part of the implementation of RA 10592.

“We’ll ask for the list. Right now I have a copy of some releases, names of releases. At least four of those released last Aug. 16 are Chinese drug lords,” Lacson said.

Lacson also noted they have been trying to secure a copy of the reported Aug. 20 release order of Sanchez after his family reportedly prepared to pick him up from NBP that day.

“If we take the word of the members of the family, there was a release order issued as of Aug.  20. They claimed mayor Sanchez was even fingerprinted,” Lacson said in referring to the prison release procedure.

He added that even BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon admitted that there were 11,000 to be released in two months for GCTA.

“And by his own admission, Faeldon said 11,000 prisoners are lined up for release,” Lacson said.

Lacson described the bulk release of prisoners as part of the GCTA as highly suspicious, thus necessitating the Senate inquiry and possible amendment of RA 10592.

“That’s why maybe it’s subliminal or malicious or mischievous that (money changed hands). When we talk of 11,000 convicts to be released at P10,000 each or P5,000 each, you can just imagine the huge amount of money involved. I’m not saying it happened. But it is a possibility. You ask yourself why (they are being released wholesale).”

Lacson said one of the objectives of the Senate inquiry is to hold accountable officials and employees of the NBP and BuCor who may have abused their discretion in implementing the GCTA.

Similarly situated

The BuCor said it has released 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes due to GCTA since 2014.

BuCor legal chief Frederic Anthony Santos, however, refused to comment on Lacson’s revelations regarding the release of the four Chinese convicts.

Santos also refused to clarify the reports that Faeldon signed the release order of the three convicts in the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters in 1997.

“We cannot confirm nor deny that document because if we do, we are singling them out. All the names of the 1,914 (convicts) will also be released because they are similarly situated,” Santos said. ?Santos stressed they can only divulge the number of the convicts released but not their names.

“You can file to the courts compelling me to divulge the names... of the people deprived of liberties who were released. That is part of it,” he said.

Santos also denied reports that Faeldon signed the release paper of Sanchez.

“As far as I know, there is none (such document),” he said.

Sanchez and his family had claimed his release documents have already been signed.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez in 1993.

Reports of possible release of Sanchez sparked public outrage, prompting authorities to suspend implementation of the GCTA.

Sanchez was supposedly included in the 11,000 inmates that may be released due to GCTA but the Department of Justice clarified the former mayor is not eligible since he is convicted of a heinous crime. – With Robertzon Ramirez, Ralph Edwin Villanueva




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