Over 1,900 heinous crime convicts released through good conduct law – BuCor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29)— More than 1,900 inmates convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2013 due to good behavior, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said Thursday.

Data released by the bureau revealed that a total of 22,049 prisoners were given freedom through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), a provision in the Revised Penal Code which shortens jail time for good behavior. Of the number, 1,914 individuals committed heinous crimes.

According to BuCor’s list, majority of the inmates released were convicted of murder (797) and rape (758).

Other prisoners who availed of early release include those guilty of robbery (274), illegal drug law violations (48), parricide (29), kidnapping (5), and destructive arson (3).

BuCor legal chief Frederick Santos, however, refused to disclose the identities of the said inmates.

"Hindi natin pwede ma-single-out, who are they. Unless they will compel us, subpoena sa korte na ganon," he said..

[Translation: We can't single out who they are. Unless they will compel us with a court subpoena.]

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

The GCTA has grabbed headlines in light of the reported early release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez. The Justice Department has maintained that Sanchez’ rape-murder case is not applicable because of the law's exemption for heinous crime cases.

Malacanang said President Rodrigo Duterte personally blocked the release of Sanchez, reiterating the good conduct policy excludes heinous crime convicts.