Throw ’em back in jail - Panelo

August 30, 2019
Salvador Panelo

ABOUT 2,000 inmates convicted of heinous crimes and freed for good behavior  should be sent back to jail, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said yesterday.

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said 1,914 of the 22,049 prisoners who served shorter jail time through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) provision of the Revised Penal Code were guilty of heinous crimes, but were still allowed early release.

From the BuCor’s list, 797 or nearly half were jailed for murder while 758 were guilty of rape. Panelo said this was illegal.

“That cannot be done because the law is very clear. Republic Act 10592 is very clear that those charged and convicted of heinous crimes, escapees, habitual delinquents and recidivists are not covered by the law,” Panelo said in a televised press briefing in Beijing, China.

“Obviously, dapat makabalik sila sa kulungan (they should be brought back to prison) until they serve the full term of their sentence,” added Panelo, concurrent presidential legal counsel.

The government temporarily suspended the processing of papers for GCTA on Thursday, pending a review by the Justice and Interior departments.

GCTA issues came to light after the reported early release of Antonio Sanchez. The former Calauan, Laguna mayor was convicted for seven counts of murder and rape of two University of the Philippines-Los Baños students in 1993.

GCTA rules, however, state that early release cannot be revoked once granted. Panelo said this would not apply to the nearly 2,000 convicts set free: “When you say it cannnot be revoked, it assumes that the grantees are qualified. If they are not qualified, how can you qualify for that provision?”

Malacañang has said that President Rodrigo Duterte personally blocked Sanchez’s release, and that heinous crime offenders cannot benefit from the good conduct policy.

Freed ‘drug lords’

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has deferred the deportation of the four Chinese drug convicts released from the New Bilibid Prisons based on the new good conduct rules.

The bureau’s deportation unit was ordered to stay the deportation of Chan Chit Yue, Kin San Ho, Ching Che and Wu Hing Sum.

The four Chinese will continue to be detained at the BI Warden Facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City until the completion of a 10-day review of rules and guidelines of Republic Act No. 10592, the law amending provisions of the Revised Penal Code on time allowances and credit for preventive imprisonment.

With Hector Lawas