CEBU Rep. Eduardo Gullas has a good, practical suggestion, in the wake of the furor over heinous crime convicts getting out of prison much earlier due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law, or RA 10592.
According to Gullas, Congress should consider passing new legislation that would give trial courts the leeway to mete out “life sentences without parole” to extremely ruthless criminals, those found by the court to be guilty of heinous crimes without a shred of doubt.
“In America, they have more than 50,000 convicts currently serving life without parole.
They are never getting out of prison. We should have a similar penalty here reserved for the most hardened felons. The severe punishment is as good as locking up a convict and throwing away the key,” Gullas said.
If not for the public outcry over the early release from prison of heinous crime convicts due to “ambiguities” in the GCTA Law and its implementing rules and regulations, both the executive and legislative branches of government would not have been aware of the inadequacies of the law and its implementing manual.
These loopholes in the 2013 law have enabled corrupt prison officials to “sell” allowances to convicts, the “prices” ranging from P50,000 to a couple of millions.
“Clearly, there are violent and dangerous criminals who should be incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives to satisfy the demands of justice and to protect the general public.
Thus, the option of life sentence without parole,” Gullas said.
At present, “reclusion perpetua” is the maximum penalty specified in the Revised Penal
Code. The punishment is equal to 30 to 40 years in prison, with the convict becoming eligible for possible conditional early release after 15 to 20 years.
As the Senate winds up its investigation into the shenanigans in the Bureau of Corrections today, the people are most interested in the details of how these prison officials are lining their pockets in implementing the GCTA law, particularly the computation of days served in prison.
The Office of the Ombudsman should take it from here, as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee submits is recommendation on the New Bilibid Prisons scandal, which is very scandalous indeed.