DOJ: BuCor to recompute GCTA of heinous crime convicts who surrender

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will recompute the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that has been granted to freed heinous crime convicts who have been ordered to surrender by President Rodrigo Duterte last Wednesday.

“Once the returning PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) are back in the custody of the bucor, their GCTAs will be re-evaluated and recomputed. The appropriate disposition will follow,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Friday.

They will remain in the BuCor’s custody throughout the evaluation, Guevarra said.

Article 99 of the Revised Penal Code states: “Whenever lawfully justified, the Director of Prisons shall grant allowances for good conduct. Such allowances, once granted, shall not be revoked.“

However, the government has been insisting that the grant of GCTAs to heinous crime convicts is invalid from the start as they supposedly do not qualify for the policy.

Under Republic Act No. 10592 — which more than doubled the GCTA for convicts — repeat offenders, habitual delinquents, escapees and those charged with heinous crimes cannot have the time of their preventive detention deducted from their prison terms.

However, “any convicted prisoner” is entitled to GCTA.

Despite this, Duterte ordered Wednesday that all 1,916 heinous crime convicts who have been released through the expanded GCTA policy to surrender in 15 days, or they will be treated like “a fugitive from justice.”

Guevarra said that these freed convicts may be arrested even without a warrant, as they are “evading sentence.”

The Justice Secretary has said that “not more than 10” convicts have surrendered after Duterte gave a 15-day deadline for them to turn themselves in.

Among them is convicted murderer Jesus Ranoco Negro Jr., who had been free for over a year due to the GCTA policy. Police said Negro is the first heinous crime convict released through the policy to surrender in Cebu province.

Guevarra said that numerous other convicts have sent numerous other convicts have sent representatives to inquire about their recommitment to prison.

He also said that those who want to surrender can go to police stations or military units nationwide, state they are heinous crime convicts, and then the Philippine National Police or Armed Forces of the Philippines will coordinate with the Bureau of Corrections.

He added the DOJ is working on issuing an immigration lookout bulletin order against the released heinous crime convicts.

While no hold departure order has been issued against any of the 1,916 heinous crime convicts who have been freed since the implementation of the expanded GCTA law, Guevarra said the Immigration bureau can arrest them in coordination with law enforcement authorities.

The GCTA has been under scrutiny following reports of the possible release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted of the rape-slay of University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her fellow UPLB student Allan Gomez.

Duterte has since sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon and has called on the Office of the Ombudsman to probe BuCor officials involved in the computation of GCTAs for prisoners.

The wife of a convict recently came forward and told the Senate that some BuCor officials offered her GCTA credits for her husband’s early release in exchange for ₱50,000.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.