Solon wants amendments to good conduct law

MANILA Senator Sonny Angara is eyeing to propose amendments to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Act to plug loopholes and avoid erroneous interpretation of the law.

In a statement on Friday, Angara said he will file a bill that seeks to provide a definition of heinous crimes for the purpose of applying exclusions in the coverage of the law.

The bill would also propose to exclude recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons convicted of heinous crimes from being granted GCTAs.

The present law excludes these types of persons from GCTA while under preventive imprisonment. It only makes sense that the same standard should apply to convicted felons, Angara said.

Angara said his bill would also require the mandatory notice to the victims and their families and publication of names of prisoners who are scheduled for release as a result of GCTA.

Other proposed amendments include the deletion of the provision that makes the grant of GCTA irrevocable, the forfeiture of GCTAs for inmates who violate prison rules or commit offenses while serving their sentences, and stiff penalties for the issuance of false certificates of good conduct by the prison authorities.

While we acknowledge the need to introduce efforts to rehabilitate and reform those convicted, certain circumstances must be considered in order to deter those underserving from exploiting the good-natured intent of the law, Angara said.

The senator cited the need to revise the law following reports that convicted murderer and rapist, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, was almost released from prison last week as a result supposedly of the provisions of the GCTA.

Due to the immense discretion provided to the implementing agencies on the operationalization of time allowances, as well as in the determination of what constitutes good conduct, the law is allegedly being exploited to benefit undeserving felons, Angara said.

Angara said the interpretation and application of the law were absurd in the case of Sanchez, who apart from being convicted of heinous crimes, continued to commit violations while incarcerated, such as being caught in possession of illegal drugs.

We should leave no room for crazy interpretations of the law. That is why we are introducing amendments so that the true spirit of the original law will be preserved, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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