SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go yesterday recommended that all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials involved in the process of granting GCTAs be immediately relieved from their duty.
“Mr. Chair, sa dami ng dinaanan ng proseso ng GCTA, I believe na marami ang sumakay at ginamit ito para sa corruption. Because of this, I am recommending to (Justice) Secretary Guevarra, at nabanggit na rin ito ni Pangulong Duterte, to relieve all BuCor officials who are handling the process of GCTA. Those who are next in rank will assume their duties,” Go said.
“Ayoko pong magbintang nang walang ebidensya. I want to give the authorities a chance to thoroughly conduct an extensive investigation to get to the bottom of this. Pero inuulit ko, sa dami ng dinadaanan ng GCTA, marami po akong nakausap, maaaring maraming opisyal sa baba ang sumabay at nakinabang sa mga kalokohang ito,” he added.
Before attending the Senate hearing, Go on Monday morning visited the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to assess the situation of the people deprived of liberty (PDLs) and listen to their concerns.
“May nakarating na reports sa akin na may anomalyang nagaganap sa NBP hospital. Narito ako para pakinggan sila, para imbestigahan,” Go said after reports came out that prison officials and personnel sell hospital passes to inmates who allegedly transact their illegal drug trade inside the NBP hospital.
“Nagpapanggap na may sakit para ma-admit sa ospital, pagkatapos doon na nagaganap ang illegal drug trading. Hindi lang pala ang GCTA ang for sale. Pati na rin ang hospital pass, for sale rin pala sa Bilibid,”Go said.
During his visit, Go also assessed the situation of the inmates in the national penitentiary after he received complaints related to the provision of basic needs and health services.
“Marami na matatandang inmates na may sakit. May reklamo rin sa pagkain nila. Ipararating ko po ito kay Pangulong Duterte. Sinabi ko rin kay Gen. Buenafe pabilisan at ayusin ang medical services nila,” he said.
Go said he has already coordinated with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to provide for the needs of the patients in Bilibid. “Kaysa po ma-expire ‘yung mga medisina ninyo, ibigay ninyo na lang po doon sa may mga sakit.”
“Marami din silang requests katulad ng (para sa) cardiovascular diseases, and dialysis machines. Dami na pong preso na nagkakasakit doon sa minimum security. Gamitin natin ang hospital sa tama. May mga naka-wheelchair kanina doon na matatanda may mga problema na po sila sa pandinig, dapat sila ang nasa hospital,” Go said.
The senator also raised concern if the process of granting GCTA is being fairly applied to convicts.
“Nakita ko rin kanina mas madaming matatanda sa minimum security. Marami roon naka-whelchair baka di na aabot sa kanilang kalayaan mamatay na sila. Bakit unang nakakalaya ang nasa maximum kaysa doon sa minimum? Dahil ba mayaman sila o talagang mayroong sumasakay dito?” he asked during the Senate hearing.
Based on his assessment, GCTA is being used by alleged corrupt officials from BuCor to give false hope to convicted felons.
“The GCTA is being used to extort money from unassuming prisoners, with the promise that they will be released through the computation of the GCTA,” said Go.