PNP says release of 11K inmates poses no threat

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said the impending release of some 11,000 inmates from prison does not pose any security threat, particularly, on the communities which they will soon be part of.

“After having served their time in the (correction facilities), we believe that they will not be a threat to security. But if they will commit any crime again, we will definitely enforce the law and arrest them. Whoever commits a crime shall be held liable under the law, whether they are from the corrections or ordinary citizens,” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac told reporters on Thursday.

Banac made the statement in response to reports that 11,000 inmates will walk out of prison soon due to the revised rules on their Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act 10592, which effectively shortens their jail term due to good behavior.

“That is the purpose of the law. During the time that they are at the Bureau of Corrections, we hope that they will be reformed as part of our criminal justice system. We believe that after serving their time (in prison), they will repent and start a new life after they have served their punishment,” Banac stressed.

Banac said through the community the government will be able to somehow monitor the former inmates, particularly when they get involved in illegal activities again.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified issues following the implementation of a recent Supreme Court (SC) decision, which effectively shortened the prison terms of convicted persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) — through more liberal rules in computing GCTA.

This came in wake of reports that convicted rapist, former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, is among those who will be entitled to an earlier release from prison under the new GCTA rules set by the SC ruling.

In January 1999, the High Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling, which found Sanchez guilty for the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez.

In August of the same year, the High Court also meted a double life term for Sanchez for a different case. This means that Sanchez will have to spend a total of 360 years in detention for all these cases.

In its June 25 ruling, the High Court declared invalid Section 4, Rule 1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10592 amending portions of the Revised Penal Code.

The said IRR provided for the prospective application of the GCTA of prisoners for: good conduct, study, teaching, and mentoring service, and loyalty.

As a consequence, all prisoners — regardless of whether already serving his/her sentence or undergoing preventive imprisonment — may qualify for the reduction of their sentence pursuant to the time allowances under Republic Act 10592.

It also allowed additional deduction of 15 days for each month of study, teaching, or mentoring service, and expanded the special time allowance for loyalty and made it applicable even during preventive imprisonment.

The IRR was jointly issued by former Justice Secretary de Lima and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

However, Section 4, Rule 1 of the IRR directed the prospective application of the GCTA, time allowance for study, teaching, and mentoring; and special time allowance for loyalty to prisoners.

The said provision in the IRR was struck down by the SC, which stressed that it ran counter to Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code — which entitles an accused to the retroactive effect of laws affecting them. (PNA)


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