Credit to Author: racosta| Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:10:09 +0000
MANILA, Philippines — Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II has remained firm that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10592 is consistent with the law.
Roxas said this Wednesday, in his official reply to the Office of the Ombudsman’s request for him to explain why heinous crime convicts were removed from the list of prisoners who cannot avail of good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
RA 10592 expanded the reduction of a convict’s sentence based on good behavior while inside the prison.
It states that heinous crime convicts are not among those who can avail of GCTA, but its subsequent IRR seemed to have included convicted heinous felons in the roster.
Section 7 of RA10592 tasks the Secretaries of Justice and Interior to craft the IRR. The first IRR was created during the time of Roxas as Interior Secretary and Leila De Lima as Justice Secretary. RA 10592 was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2013.
Both Roxas and De Lima received letters from Ombudsman Samuel Martires, asking them to explain or clarify in writing RA10592’s IRR that was drafted during their term.
“I have gone over the IRR and found that the same faithfully reflects the provisions of R.A. 10592 that are the subject of the letter. The IRR is worded, to the greatest extent practicable, in a manner consistent with the law it implements,” Roxas said in the reply, which he posted on his Twitter page.
“This being the case, allegations that the IRR has strayed from the law on which it is based are questionably unfounded,” he added.
Roxas further reasoned out that the term “heinous crime convicts” appears in the IRR, although not in Section 3, but in Section 6, which reads:
“Section 6. Provisional Release While Under Preventive Imprisonment
- Whenever an accused has undergone preventive imprisonment for a period equal to the impossible maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be sentenced and his case is not yet decided, he shall be released immediately without prejudice to the continuation of the trial thereof or the proceeding on appeal, if the same is under review, except for the following:
- Habitual Delinquent
- Person charged with heinous crimes”
“This benefit and all the exceptions thereto are all completely and accurately mirrored in the IRR as Rule IV, Section 6, without any omission not covered elsewhere in the IRR,” Roxas explained.
“What is clear then, is that the disqualifications about which you have inquired are all in the IRR. All four disqualifications were included in the rules, and none of them are missing as alleged by many commentators in recent days. They are there for everyone to see and for the concerned officers of the government to observe,” he also clarified.
The issue regarding GCTA was exposed after former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon signed release orders for former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for rape and murders.
After Sanchez’s release was prevented due to public uproar, reports showed that out of the 22,049 inmates already released from the GCTA, 1,914 were convicted of heinous crimes like rape, murder, parricide, and drug-related raps, among others.
This has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to sack Faeldon, and order the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the issue.
Administration officials, including incumbent Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, blamed the release of prisoners to the not fully scrutinized IRR.