JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said that the apparent misapplication of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) which allowed the release of heinous crimes convicts started during the stint as Justice Secretary of detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
Guevarra told the House Committee on Appropriations panel hearing that the release of convicted felons began in 2014 when de Lima and then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas crafted the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“There was a misapplication of the law and the rules. Back then, there was no distinction between those inmates who have been convicted of heinous crimes or not. Kaya bigla ang pagbuhos lahat ng GCTA,” said Gueverra during his defense of the Department of Justice’s P21.7 billion allocation under the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget.
“And it was exacerbated by the Supreme Court decision that made it (release of inmates) retroactive. Iyun ang naging practice ng Bureau of Corrections and possibly of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology,” explained Guevarra who served as Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs when de Lima was DOJ chief.
“Kumbaga dati nang naging problema dahil sa misapplication at lalo pang gumulo because of the SC decision,” said Guevarra, adding they had to move for the suspension of the processing of the GCTA Law due to confusion.
“Because that’s a 360-degree turnaround from the previous interpretation of the law,” said Guevarra.