Amend GCTA law – Minority solons

September 04, 2019

THE House Minority group has joined the call to amend the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

In a weekly press briefing, Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr. said there is a growing consensus among members of the Minority to thoroughly review and amend the GCTA law.

Like other sectors, the Minority bloc was disappointed that about 1,914 inmates of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) including those who committed heinous crimes, were released due to questionable implementation of GCTA.

“It is clear that after hearings conducted by both houses of Congress that amendments to the GCTA Law are needed due to the confusion surrounding its provisions, particularly on the issue pertaining to those convicted of heinous crimes.” Abante said.

The lawmaker stressed that “the conflicting interpretations of the law, in the Minority’s view, speak for itself, and stress the need for a thorough review of the law.”

“Personally, I believe that we need to pass amendments to explicitly bar those convicted of heinous crimes from benefiting from the GCTA,” Abante said.

And in relation to this, Abante said, he plans to tap the lawyer-members of the Minority to lead efforts to amend the law to address this gray area.”

Abante emphasized that Congress needs “to focus on making amendments that will eliminate or minimize discretion on the part of the officials involved in the application of the law, as the more discretion is involved, the more likely it will be vulnerable to corruption.”

Data from BuCor shows that a total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2014 because of the GCTA Law.

Almost half of the inmates released, or 816 convicts, were released during the tenure of BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon, who was appointed the agency’s head in October 2018.