Senate witnesses on GCTA anomaly get off protective custody

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    THE Senate committee on justice and human rights yesterday released from its protective custody a couple who testified on the anomalous application of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

    Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon ordered the Senate Office of the Sergeant At Arms to release Godfrey Gamboa, an inmate at the NBP, and his live-in partner Yolanda Camilon following the termination of the committee’s inquiry into the controversy.

    “Pursuant to the completion and termination of the committee’s hearings, the Committee hereby orders the immediate release of Mr. Godfrey Gamboa and Yolanda Camilon,” Gordon said in his release order.

    Gamboa and Camilon sought protective custody from the Senate when they testified against ranking officials of the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) who were reportedly involved in anomalies in the grant of the GCTA to prisoners. The GCTA, which in a nutshell, allows the deduction of sentence of prisoners based on good behavior while in detention.

    The couple has been under the custody of the Senate since September 5 last year.Camilon initially appeared at the Senate on September 5 and alleged that BuCor officials sold GCTA to Gamboa, her common-law husband.

    She testified that she transacted with BuCor officials, among them Correctional Senior Inspector Maribel Bansil, Staff Sergeant Ramoncito Roque and Correctional Officer 3 Veronica Buño, who allegedly pestered her for the full payment for the GCTA privilege.
    Camilon presented before the Senate hearing a recorded conversation between her and Bansil.

    Controversies over the application of the GCTA blew up after no less than Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra slipped that former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez was set to be released even before the end of his sentence because of the GCTA privilege, the legality of which was confirmed by the Supreme Court last year.

    Sanchez was sentenced to seven life terms for the 1993 rape-slay of UP student Aileen Sarmenta and her friend Allan Gomez.