Senate approves measure for separate prison facilities for convicts of heinous crimes

(Eagle News) — The Senate has approved the creation of separate prison facilities for convicts of heinous crimes who were sentenced to life imprisonment, Senate President Tito Sotto said.

According to Sotto, Senate Bill No. 1055 that aims to establish three “prison farms” on the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, was approved on third and final reading on Monday, Dec. 16.

Based on the approved measure co-authored by Sotto and Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri, the facilities  shall  be put up “preferably” within a military establishment or on an island separate from the mainland.

The facilities shall have modern surveillance cameras, high-tech information and security system capable of 24/7 monitoring of prisoners, and complicated security features on locks, doors, and perimeters.

“It is about time that we let these hardened criminals feel the pain of isolation, the pain of being alone. This will also put a stop from these criminals from operating even behind bars,” Sotto said.

Hardened criminals will be moved to the facilities within a period of 30 days after the completion of the construction of the facilities, under the approved measure.

Measures seeking for the construction of a separate facility for convicts of heinous crimes were filed in the Senate following outrage over the near-release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who had been convicted for the killing of two University of the Philippines Los Banos students in the 1990s.

The Department of Justice had said Sanchez was to be released following a computation of the time he had served in prison that showed that with the good conduct time allowance credits he had acquired, he had already served his time.

The outrage prompted authorities to put on hold Sanchez’s release, and to create a panel that would review the 2013 implementing rules and regulations of the GCTA law under which the GCTA credits were awarded.

Under the law’s implementing rules and regulations revised by the panel, inmates who are recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapists and those charged with heinous crimes are now specifically ineligible from benefiting from the GCTA law.