Menardo Guevarra
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday there is “a very real possibility” that prisons officials and personnel sold good conduct time allowance credits to national penitentiary convicts who want to cut short their jail time.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File photo

Guevarra says ‘GCTA for sale’ a ‘very real possibility’

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - September 6, 2019 - 1:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday there is “a very real possibility” that prisons officials and personnel sold good conduct time allowance credits to national penitentiary convicts who want to cut short their jail time.

Thousands of prisoners were supposed to benefit from a law rewarding prisoners for good conduct by deducting days from their sentences.

But public outrage over the early release of some high-profile convicts prompted lawmakers to investigate the implementation of the law, and the suspension of the processing of inmates’ good conduct time allowance, or GCTA.

“I do not have the facts before me but I tend to believe that is a very real possibility,” Guevarra told reporters in an interview.

“So further investigation is being done to validate the existence of the so-called GCTA for sale,” he added.

A witness told a Senate panel that she was approached by Bureau of Corrections personnel last February and told her they can expedite the release of her husband in exchange for money.

The witness said she paid P50,000 to BuCor employees but she asked for a refund when the early release of her husband did not push through. The accused prisons personnel — Mabel Bansil and Ramoncito Roque — denied the allegations.

President Rodrigo Duterte early this week fired BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon for disobeying his order to stop the release of convicts based on their GCTA.

Duterte also ordered the immediate rearrest of at least 1,700 convicts freed through the GCTA law.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires said his office was prioritizing the probe into corruption allegations in the prisons bureau. — With a report from Kristine Joy Patag

GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLO­WANCE MENARDO GUEVARRA
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