President Duterte won’t go after BuCor personnel who released convicts under GCTA law “in good faith”

(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, Sept. 12, said he will not go after Bureau of Corrections officials who released convicts under the Good Conduct Time Allowance law “in good faith.”

Duterte issued the remark as the Ombudsman continues its probe into the release of convicts of heinous crimes under the law, suspending over 27 BuCor officials in the process.

The officials included Ramoncito Roque, chief of the BuCor documents and records section, and Senior Insp. Mabel Bansil, who had been tagged by witness Yolanda Camilon as those who received the P50,000 she gave in exchange for the release of her partner under the GCTA law from the New Bilibid Prison.

President Duterte has also sacked BuCor director-general Nicanor Faeldon over the GCTA law mess, which the Palace has blamed on the implementing rules and regulations crafted in 2014 by then-Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and then-Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

The Ombudsman has asked De Lima and Roxas to explain why the IRR do not exclude convicts of heinous crimes from availing of the benefits of the law, which reduces the sentence of inmates with good conduct.

The Ombudsman had noted the law itself banned this category of inmates from benefiting from the law.

“If it was done in good faith, hindi kita anuhin,” Duterte said.

He said, however, that if there was corruption, “that is another story.”

“I will hit you not because the law was in the limbo but because of corruption,” Duterte said.

The BuCor has said 1914 convicts of heinous crimes have been released under the GCTA law.

President Duterte has ordered them to surrender or be treated as a fugitive.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for his part, suspended the release of convicts under the GCTA law pending a joint Department of Justice and Department of the Interior and Local Government panel review of the guidelines for GCTA accreditation and of the IRR.